Saturday, April 16, 2011

Atrocities by troops loyal to President Ouattara of Ivory Coast

It is no secret that on 11 April 2011, after a power struggle that lasted four months, Laurent Gbagbo, former President of Ivory Coast, was finally kicked out of office and arrested by troops loyal to his rival - President Allasane Ouattara. The president's troops reportedly committed atrocities against pro-Gbagbo civilians during the campaign to oust Gbagbo.

Since violence broke out following the disputed November 2010 presidential elections, hundreds of civilians lost their lives and thousands fled their homes. Troops loyal to the deposed President Laurent Gbagbo were particularly under the microscope and accused of committing crimes against humanity.

With all eyes on Laurent Gbagbo and his men, troops loyal to Allasane Outtara were given a blank check and committed widespread atrocities during the march to force Gbagbo to cede power. Now that Gbagbo is out of office and under house arrest, serious allegations of horrendous crimes and atrocities committed by troops loyal to President Ouattara have surfaced.

Human Rights Watch sent an email to it's supporters on Friday 14 April 2011 - shining light on crimes committed by Ouattara's forces. These crimes include systematic rape, summary executions, killings along ethnic lines, and burning of villages. According to Human Rights Watch, Ouattara's forces massacred more than 100 people in Bloléquin, including babies, women and those "too old or feeble to flee". The town of Duékoué and other western towns were also devastated by Ouattara's forces and hundreds of Gbagbo supporters were brutally killed. 

Crimes against civilians by armed militia men violate international humanitarian law and must not go unpunished. President Allasane Ouattara should investigate and prosecute those responsible for grave crimes committed during the power struggle. 

Investigating only pro-Gbagbo forces will send a wrong message and jeopardize reconciliation efforts in Ivory Coast.

Human Rights Watch interviewed many victims of violence and published a detailed news release on 9 April 2011 urging President Ouattara and his new government to investigate and prosecute perpetrators from both sides of the conflict.

On a side note: During the conflict in Ivory Coast, there was a poll on this blog and readers were asked whether the United Nations should intervene militarily to protect civilians in the west African country. Only 18 people participated in the poll - with 14 (77 percent) in favor of military intervention, 3 (16 percent) against and 1 (5 percent) unsure. I appreciate all those who participated in the poll.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search this Blog

Related Posts with Thumbnails