Ivory Coast: May 20, 2004


The government has fired three rebel leaders who had jobs as government ministers. The rebels in the Moslem north claim that the government is hiring foreign mercenaries fro Liberia and Chad for a planned reconquest of the north. This is unlikely, as there are 4,000 French troops and several thousand (of an eventual 6,000) UN peacekeepers in the country. But the government only controls the southern part of the country and reunification is not likely to come without compromise. Neither the government nor the rebels have very effective military forces. Each side has thousands of men with guns and some heavy weapons. But there is no competent military leadership or logistical support system. The national economy has collapsed because the war has halted the lucrative cocoa trade.

The southerners expect the UN to disarm the rebels in the north, while the rebels expect the UN to force the government to give northerners a fair share of government jobs and leadership positions. It's common, in Africa, for the tribe of the national leader to get a monopoly on government jobs. 


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