Long one of the most stable nations in West Africa, Ivory Coast achieved this status due to a string of able politicians who did not exploit tribal, national (many foreign workers) and religious (Christians in the south, Moslem in the north) differences. That changed in 1999 when an army coup put an unpopular general in charge. Since then, the tribal and religious differences have become something to fight over and hostility towards the millions of foreign workers has increased. Most of these foreign workers come from Moslem nations to the north, and the Christians who have long run Ivory Coast feel that these Moslem nations are providing weapons and other support to Moslem rebels in the north.
Rebels have signed a ceasefire, but the government has delayed doing so.