News / Africa

US: Gbagbo Forces in Ivory Coast Begin to Crumble

French troops  drive past in a armored car in the city of  Abidjan, Ivory Coast, March 31, 2011
French troops drive past in a armored car in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, March 31, 2011

The U.S. State Department’s top African diplomat said Thursday that forces loyal to defeated Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo are beginning to crumble. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson is urging both sides in the Ivory Coast conflict to show restraint and avoid urban fighting in the capital, Abidjan. 

Assistant Secretary of State Carson says he cannot confirm reports from Ivory Coast suggesting that the collapse of forces loyal to Laurent Gbabgo may be imminent.

But he says forces supporting the internationally-recognized Ivory Coast election winner, Alassane Ouattara are making sizeable territorial gains and that Gbagbo should seize any remaining opportunity to step down peacefully.

Carson briefed reporters here following the unanimous approval by the U.N. Security Council late Wednesday of a resolution demanding that Gbagbo yield power immediately and all state institutions accept Ouattara as president.

The senior U.S. diplomat said the deterioration of Gbagbo’s position is underscored by the decision of his military chief to seek refuge at the South African embassy in Abidjan, and reports that the head of the para-military gendarmerie has taken similar action.

"There is a clear indication that the military forces of Gbagbo have in fact started to disintegrate," he said. "The rapid pace at which Alassane Ouattara’s forces have been able to move across the country from east to west and up to Abidjan suggests that there have been widespread desertions in the Gbagbo forces. The departure of his army commander lends greater credence to that."

The assistant secretary said the only places where there is significant opposition to pro-Ouattara forces are in and around Abidjan, and he appealed to the sides to show restraint and to make avoiding civilian casualties a top priority.

Carson said he is especially concerned about an undisciplined pro-Gbagbo youth militia which has been manning barricades in and around the capital and been accused of widespread killings. He said if the feared urban warfare occurs it will be the responsibility of Gbagbo and his inner circle, and that they will have to answer for their actions to the world community.

"If in fact there is major violence in Abidjan, and Gbagbo does not step aside, he and those around him including his wife Simone Gbagbo will have to be held accountable for the action that they failed to take to stop it," said Carson.

The crisis in Ivory Coast began after the November presidential election, which both the country’s electoral commission and international observers said was won by Ouattara.

But Gbagbo, the country’s leader since 2000, claimed victory and refused to hand over power. Human rights groups say the ensuing violence has claimed more than 400 lives and displaced as many as one million people.

Carson said he is worried about the prospect of a full-scale civil war in Ivory Coast that would prompt a refugee exodus and undermine the hard-won recent stability in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid