Gbagbo, who lost an election last year but only ceded power by force, is heading to The Hague as we speak, charged with crimes against humanity as a result of violence that broke out after that election.
Sex exploitation by UN peacekeepers: A 2010 UN embassy cable released by Wikileaks indicates that U.N. peacekeepers traded food and basic supplies (mobile phones, as well) for sex with destitute underage girls in the Ivory Coast. The cable concerns the actions of Beninese peacekeepers in the town of Toulepleu, sixteen of whom a UN spokesman has now acknowledged were barred from UN service following a year-long investigation. Said a protection officer with Save The Children: “…sexual exploitation and abuse problem among (United Nations) personnel is more extensive than is recognized.” source
Until we can convince the population it is not a witch hunt, they won’t come forward. We’re working on it. But once the amnesty expires, we will let the law deal with anyone who doesn’t cooperate.
Ivory Coast leader Alassane Ouattara • Describing some of the troubles he faces with calming down the situation in Abidjan after the capture of Laurent Gbagbo yesterday. He needs to assure that those nervous after the street violence understand that there’s a period of amnesty for those who come forward, and that things will calm down after this point. In other words: Cool your jets. It’s a pretty rough stigma to live down, as Mamadou Senogo, a person in a French refugee camp notes: “I will be staying at the French army base camp until the whole city is secure. There are too many hotheads running around with guns outside.” source
There [was] heavy fighting involving French soldiers, the United Nations and our forces against Mr. Gbagbo’s forces. Once all heavy weapons were destroyed, Mr. Gbagbo was there and we arrested him.
Paris-based Alassane Ouattara spokeswoman Sogona Bamba-Arnault • Explaining how Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo was captured, after months of conflict over an election that didn’t go Gbagbo’s way. The conflict pushed the world’s largest cocoa producer in a direction towards civil war. source
The group wants Alassane Ouattara to investigate. With incredibly high stakes at play, the situation in the Ivory Coast certainly had the potential to get very bad very quickly, and that’s exactly what Human Rights Watch claims has happened. “While the international community has been focused on the political stalemate in Abidjan over the presidency,” said Human Rights Watch Africa director Daniel Bekele, “forces on both sides have committed numerous atrocities against civilians, their leaders showing little interest in reining them in.” On Alassane Ouattara’s side, the group claims supporters “summarily executed and raped perceived Gbagbo supporters in their homes.” On Laurent Gbagbo’s side, supporters reportedly retaliated by killing more than 100 civilians. In case you haven’t been watching this story, now might be the time to use your non-blind eye. source
Gbagbo still sequestered at his home: Yesterday saw a lot of conflicting reports of the surrender, or lack thereof, of Ivory Coast’s electorally-defeated strongman Laurent Gbagbo. The standoff between him and forces loyal to the elected leader, Alassane Ouattara (who’s got other problems, too — his own ranks were accused of committing atrocities, which he flatly denies) is still going on a day later, a disastrous prolonging of the conflict for the people of Abidjan, who have little food and water, and are in tremendous physical peril. The reports coming in today, sadly, are no less convoluted than they were yesterday.
Playing For time Yesterday’s reports that Gbagbo was negotiating an exit deal to ensure himself U.N. protection now look like pure posturing. France has said that the talks to secure his surrender fell apart, and it’s now reported he was likely just buying himself more time.
How it stands Alassane Ouattara’s forces are near Gbagbo’s home in Abidjan, and are still locked in a standoff. Gbagbo still has a core of loyal soldiers, as well as mortar and artillery capacity. The Ouattara forces pulled back, and combat is reportedly suspended for a few hours. source
Not long for Laurent Gbagbo? Reports coming out of the Ivory Coast are somewhat convoluted at this moment — the machinations of these scenarios can involve a lot of back and forth between the sides involved, and as such it’s understandable that things can become murky. Reuters had reported that strongman Laurent Gbagbo signed a U.N. document ceding power and surrendering, but nearly an hour later posted a report from a U.N. official claiming his surrender is not official, and that he’s negotiating for protection. Perhaps the biggest takeaway, though, is what’s most important thing for the Ivory Coast; that there’s a visible endgame, and Laurent Gbagbo’s desperate grip on power could soon vanish. source
As we speak we are speaking to two generals to negotiate President Gbagbo’s surrender.
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon • Explaining what’s currently happening in the Ivory Coast, after days of increasingly violent fighting between forces loyal to presidential stickler Laurent Gbagbo and forces who favored Alassane Ouattara, the man who won November’s election but was held from office by Gbagbo. Months later, the fighting got extremely violent, and the UN and France eventually got involved. Now, it appears, Gbagbo is close to surrendering the leadership he long fought to keep. “We are in a situation where everything could be resolved in the next few hours,” said French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet. source
yesterday Forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara, the elected leader of the Ivory Coast, stormed into Abidjan to oust Laurent Gbagbo, who has waged a bloody battle to stay in power. The Ouattara forces were thought to be quite close to ousting Gbagbo.
today The Red Cross says that some 800 people have been massacred in the town of Duekoue, while Gbagbo has gained ground by retaking the state T.V. network, a powerful outlet that has been accused of inciting violence during the conflict. source
then Yesterday, opposition forces in Ivory Coast, led by Alassane Ouattar, seized the region’s administrative capital. Their next destination? Abidjan, the commercial capital and home of Laurent Gbagbo, the ex-president who refuses to step down.
now Ouattar’s troops reached Abidjan, and once there, attacked both Gbagbo’s home and the presidential palace. There’s reportedly been heavy fighting non-stop since they arrived; some are describing this as Gbagbo’s “last stand.” source
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