News / Africa

Voters in Ivory Coast's Western Region Cautiously Await Election Results

Election officials start counting ballots in first round of presidential elections in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 31 Oct. 2010.
Election officials start counting ballots in first round of presidential elections in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 31 Oct. 2010.

Voting in Ivory Coast's volatile western region was peaceful on Sunday, despite concerns that local militias or candidate supporters might disrupt the presidential poll.  In Guiglo, security forces and local residents remain on alert as votes are counted and results are announced.

After five years of repeated delays, Ivorians went to the polls for their first presidential election since the start of a rebel insurgency in 2002 that split the country between the government-held south and the rebel-held north.

Powder keg?

The Moyen-Cavally region was a focal point of the western conflict.  Local militias fought on the side of government troops.  Rebels in the north as well as militias in the west and south of the country have yet to disarm or reintegrate into the army.

Candidate and president, Laurent Gbagbo, who is running on behalf of the Presidential Majority, is said to have strong support in Moyen-Cavally.  

Violence involving militias and youth groups close to the president has broken out repeatedly in Guiglo, including in January 2006, when armed protesters stormed the base of United Nations peacekeepers, forcing them out of the city.

One resident calls Guiglo "a powder keg."

The teacher, who asks not to be named, says that when they announce provisional results for Sunday's vote, if Mr. Gbagbo is not one of the two front-runners, the situation will become even more tense in Guiglo.

Fear of violence

Residents say they fear that youth leaders unhappy with provisional results could take to the streets in violent protests.

Last week, supporters of opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara and those of President Gbagbo clashed in Guiglo, preventing the opposition candidate from attending a campaign rally.

Both campaigns say it was an isolated incident that was quickly resolved.  But residents say it reflects volatility in the region.

Polling stations in Guiglo and surrounding villages were patrolled on Sunday by Ivorian security forces supported by U.N. peacekeepers.


In a report released last month, Human Rights Watch said the country's far western regions, including Moyen-Cavally, are characterized by a breakdown of the rule of law and that armed, masked bandits continue to assault, rob and rape local residents with impunity.

The international human rights monitoring group says the lawlessness has its roots in the Ivory Coast conflict and subsequent failed disarmament in the West.

International Crisis Group West Africa analyst Rinaldo DePagne says the situation in the western part of the country is complicated by its proximity to Liberia.

In Moyen-Cavally, Depagne says, there still are many people who have not been disarmed.

The militias, however, say they have disarmed and that they are awaiting government assistance to reintegrate into civilian life.

General Glofiei Maho, who was one of the militia leaders in Moyen-Cavally, says his group laid down thousands of weapons three years ago, as part of peace agreements.

Maho says the militias disarmed and no longer exist.  But, he says, that does not mean that individuals cannot still rise up of their own and cause problems.  Maho, who is also the traditional  chief of the We ethnic group in the region, says he called for calm during the voting process.

Fragile times

As the polls closed Sunday evening in Guiglo, Eric Diabate, 18, said he did not think there would be problems, but he understood peoples' concerns.

Diabate says it is a fragile time, so tensions exist and people are worried.  Diabate says people heard rumors they would be attacked or prevented from voting, but there was no violence.  Still, he says, people will be worried until the results are announced.

Ivory Coast's electoral commission has until Wednesday to announce provisional results.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs