Friday, April 01, 2011

Politics Ivory Coast: Civil War: Former Prez holds on, new Prez seeks to oust rivaql

BBC News (Apr 1,2k11) -- BBC materials posted by Politicarp who offers readers some editorial remarks:

While this BBC report covers several important dimensions of the conflict between Prez Ouattara (a Muslim, supported by the neo-colonialist foreign ministry of France) against the former Prez Gbagbo (a Christian, who remains hily regarded by many fellow Christians among the Ivorian populace, Christians who fear that a Muslim-based regime woud turn vicious once in power).  Many Christians fear the rise of Muslim political leaders, fear that once in power Muslims will massacre them, as has been happening in other countries of West Africa -- most notably in Nigeria, where the Fulani tribespeople had been given the green-lite by the Muslim governor of a state to drive out the people of villages composed of a smaller largely-Christian tribe in territory desired by these expansionist Muslim Fulani.  The Ivorian Christians know all about these sudden changes of behavior by Muslims in Nigeria and elsewhere.  Massacres of Christians conducted by the Fulani have become part of the record, part of public knowledge.

Ivory Coast, West Africa 


a battle for power where cocoa is king

Map of Ivory Coast
  • World's largest cocoa producer
  • Once haven of peace and prosperity in West Africa
  • Alassane Ouattara recognised as president-elect in 2010
  • International sanctions imposed to force Laurent Gbagbo to go
  • 473 killed, one million fled since disputed election
  • 9,000 UN peacekeepers monitor 2003 ceasefire

'Heavy fighting' near residence

of hold-on ex-Prez Gbagbo

Hamadoun Toure, spokesman for the UN's special representative for Ivory Coast: ''The countdown has started''
Troops supporting the UN-recognised president of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, appear poised for a final push to oust his rival, Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to give up the presidency.
In main city, Abidjan, pro-Ouattara forces have launched an assault on the fortified presidential residence.
There has also been fighting around the state TV building, which went off air.
Mr Ouattara's supporters, who already controlled most of the country, launched a final offensive on Monday.

The BBC's John James in the central city of Bouake says this looks like the final hours for Laurent Gbagbo's government.

An Abidjan resident said fighting was raging in the northern district of Cocody, where the presidential residence is located.
"I can still hear heavy gunfire and loud thud of mortar fire. And it is coming from the direction of Cocody," he told the BBC early on Friday.
Pro-Ouattara forces in Duekoue, west Ivory Coast on 29 March 2011
A spokesman for Mr Ouattara's government, Patrick Achi, said the former president had so far shown no signs of giving up.
Mr Achi said Ouattara loyalists had taken control of RTI state television. This could not be confirmed, but the channel went off-air late on Thursday.
A spokesman for Mr Gbagbo said his forces were still fighting at the TV station.
Mr Gbagbo has not been seen in public for weeks. His residence is mainly protected by members of the elite presidential guard, and is located on a peninsula in Abidjan's lagoon.
"Gbagbo is in his house. I'm certain. He hasn't gone anywhere," said Mr Achi.

Start Quote

[My troops] have come to restore democracy and ensure respect of the vote by the people”
Alassane Outtara
Earlier, Mr Ouattara's government said Ivory Coast's land, sea and air borders had been closed until further notice. It also declared that there would be a curfew from 2100 GMT to 0600 GMT in Abidjan until Sunday.
And after looting was reported in several parts of the city, UN and French peacekeepers took control of Abidjan's international airport.
Mr Gbagbo has refused to relinquish the presidency since November's election.
But the national army has put up almost no resistance since the start of the offensive by Mr Ouattara's supporters.
Pro-Ouattara forces reportedly now control about 80% of the country.
'Final assault'
Our correspondent says growing panic seems to be setting in among Mr Gbagbo supporters, especially following the decision of the head of the army, Gen Phillippe Mangou, to seek refuge with his wife and children at the home of the South African ambassador.
On Thursday evening, Mr Ouattara's TV channel featured senior military officers pledging allegiance to his government.
The head of the UN mission, Choi Young-jin said as many as 50,000 soldiers, police and gendarmes had abandoned Mr Gbagbo, with only the Republican Guard and special forces personnel remaining loyal.
Western diplomats say it is only a matter of time now before Mr Gbagbo flees or is captured, our correspondent says.

Mr Ouattara's government is giving assurances that the outgoing president will not be harmed, he adds. They say, instead, that Mr Gbagbo will be made available to the International Criminal Court.
Earlier, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon again demanded that Mr Gbagbo immediately cede power to Mr Ouattara "to enable the full transition of state institutions to the legitimate authorities".
Mr Ouattara was internationally recognised as president last year, after the electoral commission declared him winner of the November run-off vote.
The UN, which helped organise the vote, certified it as legitimate. However, Mr Gbagbo claimed victory after the Constitutional Council overturned Mr Ouattara's win.
The forces supporting Mr Ouattara have made lightning advances since Monday, moving out from their base in the north. On Wednesday, they captured the capital, Yamoussoukro, and the key port of San Pedro.
Sanctions and a boycott on cocoa exports in what is the world's biggest producer of cocoa beans have brought West Africa's second-biggest economy to its knees, with banks closed for more than a month.
An armed rebellion in 2002 split the nation in two - a division the elections were meant to heal.

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