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Gbagbo Accused of Recruiting Liberian and Angolan Fighters

UN troops patrol in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 12 Dec 2010
UN troops patrol in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 12 Dec 2010

Kandia Kamara, spokeswoman for rival Alassane Ouattara says the mercenaries can be seen all around Abidjan

A spokeswoman for Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of last month’s Ivory Coast presidential election said embattled President Laurent Gbagbo has recruited fighters from Liberia and Angola to kill supporters of Mr. Ouattara.

Kandia Kamara told VOA Gbagbo supporters are so far responsible for the deaths of as many as 120 young people around the Ivorian commercial capital of Abidjan.

She said Mr. Ouattara wants U.N. peacekeepers to remain in Ivory Coast to protect Ivorians from Mr. Gbagbo and his alleged foreign fighters.

“We wonder how he can (Mr. Gbagbo) dare (to order UN peacekeepers out of the country) because he is no more the president of Ivory Coast. So it’s Mr. Ouattara, the present president of Ivory Coast who can decide whether they (U.N. peacekeepers) can stay or not,” she said.

UN armored personnel carriers (APC) park near the Gulf Hotel
UN armored personnel carriers (APC) park near the Gulf Hotel

Kamara dismissed claims by Mr. Gbagbo that U.N. peacekeepers had been supporting rival Ouattara.

“It’s not Mr. Ouattara’s side which is supported by the U.N. forces. The U.N. forces came here because Mr. Gbagbo asked them to come and to help Ivory Coast to get rid of the crisis. That’s why they are here. So they didn’t come by themselves. And up to now we are still in the crisis; up to now we are on the verge to have a civil war here in Ivory Coast,” Kamara said.

She said Mr. Gbagbo wants the U.N. peacekeepers to leave Ivory Coast so that the mercenaries he Gbagbo recruited from Liberia and Angola can carry out their killing spree unimpeded.

“The United Nations is here to protect the Ivorians and the Ivorians need their protection because, as you know, every day they kill people; every day they hurt people. And right now we discovered 65 people they killed and threw their bodies somewhere in Abobo (a suburb of Abidjan). He brought a lot of militias. They are from Liberia and from Angola and they kill people every day, by night and in the day, they kill people,” Kamara said.

Kamara said the militias, allegedly recruited from Liberia and Angola, can be seen all around Abidjan.

“People see them everywhere. They speak English; they can’t speak French. When they speak we recognize that they are from Liberia and from Angola. Everybody can see them everywhere in Abidjan. Right now I can tell you that we have right now 120 bodies of young people and girls killed by those people. The corps(es) are there, and even if you like you can ask someone in Abidjan to go to the hospital to see the bodies. And as I told you, we discovered 65 bodies today,” Kamara said.

Several hundred peacekeepers are said to be protecting the Abidjan hotel that serves as Mr. Ouattara's headquarters.

Mr. Gbagbo's youth leader, Charles Ble-Goude, Friday called on his militia to kick the 10,000 U.N. and 900 French peacekeepers out of Ivory Coast.

Kamara said she hopes there would be no violent confrontation between Gbagbo supporters and the U.N. peacekeepers because, she said, the peacekeepers are in Cote d’Ivoire to protect Ivorians from forces loyal to Mr. Gbagbo.