Ivory Coast: Full Blown Civil War Amid Atrocities From Both Sides

Latest Updates:

On Sunday, French troops took control of the airport in Abidjan as the two sides continued to fight for the control of Ivory Coast largest city. According to the French military, the move is to ensure the safety of French and foreign nationals who want to leave the country. France has also increased its peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast by 300 to reach about 1,400. President Sarkozy held an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday to discuss the crisis unfolding in France’s former African colony. Meanwhile, Ivory Coast’s state television (still under the control of Laurent Gbagbo) broadcast a strong anti-French message on Sunday claiming that “a Rwandan genocide is being prepared by Sarkozy’s men”.


All day Saturday, fighting raged in Abidjan between forces loyal to Allassane Ouattara and the forces of Laurent Gbagbo. According to the Red Cross, the death toll of the  civil war has reached new highs with 800 people killed in the town of Duekoue last week. Today, the armed forces of Ouattara, who is the internationally recognized winner of last November’s elections, went on the offensive in Abidjan against the troops loyal to Laurent Gbagbo. The fighting took place near the presidential palace, the state controlled radio station and several military bases.

According to the representative of the Red Cross in Abidjan, Kelnor Panglungtshang, the fighting between the two sides has its origins not only from the disputed November’s elections but also from pre-existing tensions between different ethnic groups. In the battle to control Abidjan, Gbagbo seems cornered, but regardless of the closing tide in favor of Ouattara, he is still dismissing calls from world leaders to step down. Gbagbo is now trapped in his presidential palace located in the upscale district of Cocody.

As the violence escalates in Ivory Coast, both sides  have been accused of committing atrocities which could be considered crimes against humanity. The United Nations -which has recognized Ouattara as president-elect- reported that from the 330 people killed between Monday and Wednesday a majority were executed by Dozos, who are traditional hunters fighting in Ouattara’s army. Other reports said mass graves were found in several small towns, and that the executioners were mercenaries and militias of Gbagbo.

On Saturday, Human Rights Watch said that while the vast majority of atrocities and abuses were committed by Gbagbo forces against supporters of his rival, Ouattara forces shared part of the blame for retaliating and arming innocent civilians. Human Rights Watch has documented widespread abuses against civilians in the last four months. Beside the killing of more than 500 people, the human rights organization also documented “enforced disappearance, politically motivated rapes and unlawful use of lethal force against unarmed demonstrators.”

Amnesty International has warned that “civilians are at immediate risk of massive human rights violations”, as forces loyal to Ouattara reached Abidjan. “Abidjan is on the brink of a human rights catastrophe and total chaos. Ivory coast is facing a major humanitarian crisis. The parties to the conflict must immediately stop targeting the civilian population,” said Amnesty International’s Salvadore Sagues.

Despite the claims of Human rights Watch, Ouattara’s government denies any involvement of his army in possible abuses. Since the presidential election in November, the United Nations estimates that 700 people have been killed. And still according to the UN, more than a million people have fled Abidjan in fear a full blown civil war. The international community, including former colonial ruler France, but also the EU, the US, the African Unions and the United Nations have recognized Ouattara as the legitimately elected president and have urged Gbagbo to step down.



8 Responses to Ivory Coast: Full Blown Civil War Amid Atrocities From Both Sides

  1. Jay Banks April 3, 2011 at 11:52 am

    UN has become a totally useless organization. Instead of taking action it just holds talks and issue press releases. It does not do anything concrete besides empty words and the same will apply in the case of Ivory Coast.

    • Blain April 4, 2011 at 9:15 am

      The UN has the entire world as it’s juristiction, and less funding than the NYPD to do it all with. They can probably only afford paper and press releases.

  2. Alex April 3, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Why don’t we send in the US Troops? I guess there is no oil in the Ivory Coast.

  3. Bob April 3, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    There is more oil in the Ivory Coast than there was in Kosovo, and we foolishly intervened there too. Our foreign policy isn’t driven by oil like you want to think, its just by the same stupidity, ignorance, and hubris that drives our domestic policy.

  4. Henry April 3, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    We cant send troops there, it will give kadfyi more power to point out how the west are taking over.

    Maybe arming the rebels…but thats a dangerous game as well, looked how well that turned out in Afghanistan.

    I dont want to see the slaughter of 10k plus people as much as anyone, and i would like my country to help them as well as many other places where dictators are killing innocents, but its a very difficult game with consequences that may not show themselves for 20+ years; i feel bad for Obama, these decisions have got to weigh on ones soul, but he wanted the job LOL, now he has it.

  5. Jonni April 3, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    in this world there are a lot of leaders still believe that they own their people which will cost their countries more blood and nothing else of development!!!

  6. Philadelphia medical weight loss April 4, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Toussaint Alain said: “It’s not up to America or France to decide who must lead the Ivory Coast.”

    Toussaint is absolutely right! It is up to the people of the Ivory Coast to decide who they want to lead them. Toussaint’¬s boss FORMER President Gbagbo is a sore loser who would rather destroy that country rather than step down gracefully because he still can’t accept the fact that he didn’t win re-electio¬n. Alassane Ouattara had 54% of the votes making him the winner.

  7. RJ April 5, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Old hatreds, tribal warfare brought to you in technicolor with instant feeds.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login