I have been waiting to write something on Cote d’Ivoire until we see the resolution of the struggle between incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and internationally recognized President-elect Alassane Ouattara. But looking at the headlines this week, a lot of commentators are calling attention to the fact that “when the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers” (another version reads “ants”).
So this roundup concentrates not on the “big men” in the civil war, but on ordinary people. As a Reuters Africa headline read yesterday, “Ouattara [Has Been] Overshadowed by Ivory Coast Killings.” Whoever takes the presidency, the crises that war has produced, both inside Cote d’Ivoire and in its neighbors, will reverberate through people’s lives for some time.
- AJE: “More than 100 bodies, some burned alive and others thrown down a well, have been found in
the past 24 hours by United Nations staff in Cote d’Ivoire.” See the BBC and NPR for more.
- UNHCR: “Cote d’Ivoire exodus into neighbouring countries swells to 150,000.”
- IRIN: “Ivoirians who have fled across the border to Liberia have reported incidents of rape, sexual abuse and murder to NGOs and human rights groups.”
- CNN: “Aid organizations are warning of an impending humanitarian crisis for tens of thousands of refugees who have arrived in Liberia after fleeing violence in Ivory Coast.”
- Foreign Policy: “ICC to Investigate Crimes in Ivory Coast.”
Resolution of the Gbagbo-Ouattara duel may come at any time. But the rebuilding process will take much longer.
Was there every any real peace, or just an armed lull in the fighting?
Gbagbo’s forces dictate that he wage a counter-insurgency against Ouattara’s forces and the people of Cote d’Ivoire, and sadly the situation may burn out in nasty asymmetric warfare. Would have been nice if his generals were sincere, but false negotiations are a common stall tactic. Wondering whether Ouattara will need to reconsider taking Gbagbo alive, and what the consequences for killing him would be. Would his death behead a future insurgency or give it a martyr?
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