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.

Lawlessness

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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs