Ivory Coast: The War Is Over


June 16, 2011: Despite the installation of a new, elected, government last month, violence continues in the south. About 3,000 supporters of both Gbagbo and Ouattara  have died since last November, most in the fighting between armed groups. There are still over 400,000 refugees in the country, nearly all of them former supporters of former dictator Laurent Gbagbo. There is still some violence against pro-Gbagbo groups in the south. During the five months after the national elections last November, Gbagbo police and thugs killed anti-Gbagbo people in Abidjan (the largest city in the country and home of a third of the 15 million population). When the armed supporters of Alassane Ouattara (the northerner who won the election) moved south in March, they sought out the most enthusiastic Gbagbo supporters. In some cases, organized and armed Gbagbo supporters sought out the advancing Ouattara men and fought it out. But, just as in the elections, the Gbagbo forces were outnumbered and outfought. While some tribal and religious violence and animosity remains , the war is over.

The UN is pressuring the government to shut down the pro-Ouattara death squads. That has proved difficult, as these killers are among the most enthusiastic Ouattara supporters. There are a few such killings a week, and the government apparently believes that the violence will decline as most known pro-Gbagbo supporters flee the capital. But the hard core pro-Gbagbo people will still be out there. But in Abidjan, and most of the south, peace has returned.

June 1, 2011: The new government has been formed by president Alassane Ouattara, and it consists of  36 ministers. The senior official is prime Minister Guillaume Soro, who is also defense minister. Ouattara has asked the West for $20 billion in reconstruction aid over the next five years.



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