Entries in Ivory Coast (13)


New Year’s Stampede Kills 61, Mostly Children, in Ivory Coast 

HERVE SEVI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A crush of people has killed at least 61 party-goers — most of them children — following New Year’s eve celebrations in the city of Abidjan in Ivory Coast. Officials say over 200 were injured in a stampede of people who had been watching fireworks at the African country’s sports stadium.

State broadcaster RTF 1 reported that the crush occurred when party goers were leaving Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in the country’s biggest city. Firefighter Colonel Sakho Issa told the station that many of the victims were suffocated after becoming trapped in a crush of people trying to return home.

Many of the injured taken to a nearby hospital were also children, according to news agencies. One of the injured told Reuters that security forces had tried to disperse the crowds, causing panic during which people fell and were trampled.

President Alassane Ouattara has visited the scene, declaring New Year’s Day to be a day of mourning in the West African state. A government investigation into what caused the accident is underway.

Hours after the stampede, soldiers patrolled the site, where victims’ clothes, shoes and other debris littered the street.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ivory Coast to Resume Chocolate Exports Following Civil Unrest

Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Thinkstock(ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast) --- The African nation of Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, announced plans Wednesday to resume shipments of the delicious commodity after civil unrest halted exports, causing cocoa futures prices to rise to their highest level since 1979.

Approximately 400,000 tons of cocoa have accumulated on docks in Ivory Coast cities since the country fell into turmoil over President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to resign and admit defeat after losing a national election.

Gbagbo was finally ousted Monday after opposition forces, supported by French and United Nations troops, captured him in the capital city of Abidjan.

International sanctions halted cocoa exports as part of an effort to choke off Gbagho’s economic resources and force him from office.

His successor, President Alassane Ouattara, who is internationally recognized as the winner of the election, told reporters that cocoa exports would resume immediately.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Offered Dictator a Professorship to Step Down, Officials Say

ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down following a loss to his political rival in last November’s election, the U.S. floated several offers to entice him to cede power, according to U.S. officials. Among them was a professor position at Boston University, which is home to an African President-in-Residence program.

“I can say that after the November 28 election, the State Department did reach out to Mr. Gbagbo's staff and contacts to discuss the results of the election, first and foremost, and the need for him to step aside and allow for a transition to take place,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner says.

Gbagbo, of course, ignored the offers and refused to step aside. The offer expired at the end of December. Instead, he stepped up a military campaign against Alassane Ouattara, who won the election. Over the next several months the conflict became increasingly violent and culminated with a weeks-long siege on Gbagbo’s stronghold in the city of Abidjan.

On Monday, Gbagbo was finally captured by military forces, though some violence has continued in the form of reprisal attacks.

According to the Boston Globe, Charles Stith, director of the African Presidential Archives and Research Center at BU, which sponsors fellowships for African leaders, declined to confirm whether former President Gbagbo was offered such a position. The paper also reported that Senator James Inhore, R-Okla., was asked by the State Department to convey the offer to Gbagbo.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Former Ivory Coast Leader Arrested

ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images(ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast) -- Former President Laurent Gbagbo is under arrest in the capital city of Abidjan following weeks of civil conflict between his supporters and forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara, the recognized winner of last November’s election.

The capital has been the scene of bitter fighting, with U.N. agencies warning of a significant humanitarian crisis facing the civilian population.

The French say Gbagbo has been handed over to Ouattarra’s forces.

Although the U.N. backs Ouattara as the rightful winner of the election, the 45 percent of the population that voted for Gbagbo may not be so quick to accept these latest developments.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ivory Coast: Gbagbo Forces Gaining Ground in Abidjan, UN Says

ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images(ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast) -- Forces in the Ivory Coast loyal to incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo are gaining ground throughout Abidjan -- the country's economic capital -- according to the United Nations.

Alain Le Roy, a UN peacekeeping official, said Friday that a small interval on Tuesday for peace talks allowed the heavily armed Gbagbo forces to gain control in the Plateau and Cocody areas of Abidjan.

Supporters of Gbagbo have battled against the country's internationally recognized president, Alassane Ouattara since the controversial election in November in which the UN certified that Ouattara had won.  Gbagbo refused to give up power.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Leader Considers Surrender as Unrest Continues in Ivory Coast

STP/Getty Images(TAKORADI, Ghana) -- Laurent Gbagbo reportedly participated in negotiating the terms of a potential surrender on Tuesday, signifying a possible turn in the civil war that has consumed the Ivory Coast these past four months.

According to The New York Times, France's foreign minister, Alain Juppe, said that French negotiators were helping broker Gbagbo's surrender on terms backed by the United Nations. According to Juppe, negotiators are trying to convince Gbagbo to sign a document recognizing Alassane Ouattara as the country's legitimate leader.

Although he began participating in talks, and despite the fact his government and armed forces have fallen apart, Gbagbo told French television Tuesday that he had not surrendered.

Even if Gbagbo does step down though, it is unknown if Gbago's supporters would transfer their support to Ouattara. It is also unclear what else besides a signature Ouattara would demand of Gbagbo.
Copyright 2011 ABC Radio News


UN Pulls Out Workers as Ivory Coast Violence Continues

SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images(ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast) -- As fighting continues in the Ivory Coast, the United Nations on Sunday began pulling some of its employees from its base in Abidjan.

According to published reports, the U.N. plans to evacuate approximately 200 of its workers as rival groups continue to do battle in Abidjan. There are also reports that French troops have taken control of the airport, allowing it to be re-opened.

Intercommunal violence in the western Ivory Coast city of Duekoue has left at least 800 people dead.

The violence is part of a continued political upheaval between forces loyal to the UN-recognized president Alassane Ouattara and the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ivory Coast Civilians: Where's Our No-Fly Zone?

SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images(ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast) -- As the world shifts its attention to Libya and Moammar Gadhafi, the situation in Ivory Coast, where at least 500 people have been killed and nearly half a million are fleeing their homes in fear, has been overshadowed.

For nearly four months, the international community, including the Obama administration, have been calling for Ivory Coast's incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo to accept his loss of the presidential election and step down.  Those calls have been met with brutal violence against anyone seen as a supporter of his rival, Alessane Outtara.

There has been video of tanks firing on unarmed women protesters, pictures of some of the more than 30 people killed when Pro-Gbagbo forces shelled a crowded market, and nightly messages on state TV by Gbagbo officials encouraging the youth to arm themselves and attack "the terrorists."

Reports of mercenaries from Liberia crossing back and forth between the two countries show the deteriorating situation in Ivory Coast is threatening to destabilize the whole region, leaving many Ivorians asking: where is our no-fly zone?

The Obama administration has put out many statements condemning the violence in Ivory Coast.

On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "Gbagbo’s indiscriminate violence can't be tolerated.  All individuals responsible for ordering or carrying out these heinous acts will have to answer for their actions.”

Clinton also said the administration has pledged over $12 million dollars to the World Food Program to help feed the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the fighting.

But aside from sanctions and a temporary boycott of cocoa exported from the country, the world's largest producer of the crop, little other action has been taken by the United States and the international community.

On Friday, The New York Times published an editorial saying the world needed to do more to intervene before it's too late.  Even a seemingly non-military intervention action like the United Nation's jamming the television and radio signals to stop broadcasts inciting violence would do some good in diffusing the situation, the Times argued.  With the crisis escalating more every day, "the international community must move quickly to halt this terror," the Times declared.

For Ivorians watching the crisis unfold, next to the attention Libya is getting, there is a feeling that the Obama administration and the West is willing to stand by while the country descends into chaos and thousands are potentially killed.

Twitter messages in English and French detail what's happening in the country and cry for help.  One uses hashtags to Obama, Sarkozy, and various media outlets: "S.O.S," @boomshake1 tweets, adding, "WE NEED HELP in COTE D IVOIRE GBAGBO killed us."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Political Standoff in Ivory Coast Becoming More Deadly

Photo Courtesy - ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images(YAMOUSSOUKRO, Ivory Coast) -- A political stand-off may be coming to a violent climax in Ivory Coast, as clashes between supporters of opposing politicians rock the country. 

Dozens have reportedly been killed, as incumbent President Laurent Bgagbo continues to refuse to cede power to rival Alassene Outarra, who is widely believed to have won the country's presidential election last year. 

More than 200,000 refugees have fled the violence in fear that the West-African nation is sliding into civil war.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gbagbo Escalates Violence in Ivory Coast

Photo Copyright - SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images(ABIDJAN) -- Violence has resumed with renewed vigor in the Ivory Coast this week as Laurent Gbagbo took action to secure his place in power.

Reports indicate Gbabgo used heavily armed troops to assail the Abobo neighborhood of Abidjan, where many Gbagbo opponents live. The death toll is unclear.

The Ivory Coast has been on the verge of civil war since the November elections that Gbagbo lost to Alassane Ouattara. The nation's economy, once the world's largest cocoa producer, has since crumbled. Many major banks have closed in the past weeks, and international sanctions have suffocated normal economic behavior.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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