John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Human Rights Watch on Ivory Coast

by John Campbell
June 6, 2011

Pro-Ouattara Republican Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI) soldiers patrol a road in Yopougon May 3, 2011. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

Less than two months since former president Laurent Gbagbo was captured in Abidjan, the media has grown silent on the situation in Ivory Coast. However, a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) documents ongoing killings in various neighborhoods of Abidjan. Between April and May, the Forces Républicaines de la Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI) loyal to Ivory Coast’s president Alassane Ouattara have allegedly killed at least 95 unarmed residents in and around the country’s capital. Many of the brutal reprisal killings have demonstrated an ethnic character, with FRCI forces singling out young men whom they assume are pro-Gbagbo militia from the Attié, Bété, Goro, Guéré or other ethnic groups. The HRW report, which is based on over one hundred and thirty on-the-ground interviews, also indicates that Gbagbo’s forces killed at least two hundred and twenty people as the conflict drew to a close in early April.

The violence suggests that FRCI soldiers continue to conflate ethnic affiliations with support of former president Gbagbo, and they employ brutal, tit-for-tat violence to make those distinctions known to the public. Nevertheless, at his May 21 inauguration President Ouattara declared that the country would unite, “Yes, we are going to come together. Let us learn to live together again.” While he has taken one step in the right direction by requesting on May 3 that the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate crimes committed on both sides during the post-election conflict, more needs to be done internally to address the reprisal killings. After all, the last two decades have seen the Ivorian government institutionalize ethnic and regional divisions, often for purely political gains.

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  • Posted by BOSSO

    Ouattara by all accounts has kill 3 times more Ivorian, it is amazing that the ICC is not even questioning him.

    Just in 2 days in Douekoue his rebelles as provided by Amnesty international and other human rights organizations killed more than 1000 unarmed civilian.

    The same reports clearlly demonstrated that his rells carried out ethnic cleansing.

    From 2002 to 2011 and estimate of 12000 Ivorians had been killed by his rebelles group.

    From April 11, this year when the French army arested President Gbagbo(the legitimate winner of the last election according to the highest court in Ivory Coast) till today,the rebell forces supported by the french army are still carrying out sporadic killing all around the country to intimidate the people who still considered Ouattara as an ilegitimate president.

    When is the world going to stand up and required justice for all the victimes of this brutal war lord?

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