Civilians abandoning parts of Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Civilians abandoning their houses in the districts of Abidjan victims of the fighting

Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) – “Clashes continue in the districts of Abobo and Adjamé, Abidjan, where a curfew has been imposed for at least another two days. People from the two districts, Abobo in particular, are leaving their homes because of fighting between security forces loyal to Gbagbo and former rebels from the New Forces close to Alassane Ouattara,” Church sources in Abidjan tell Fides. The economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire is divided between supporters of outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo and those of President-elect Alassane Ouattara.
“The displaced people of Abobo and Adjamé have moved to other districts of Abidjan which are not yet involved in the fighting, to stay with relatives and friends. It is dramatic because those who leave their homes does so with the fear of losing what little they have and what they were not able to take with them,” sources tell Fides.
“The neighbourhood of Abobo has become the headquarters of the rebels from the New Forces, who support Ouattara. They are difficult to recognise because, apparently, they have removed their uniforms and dressed in civilian clothes.” The New Forces formed from the merger of a number of rebel groups that since 2002 control the north of Côte d’Ivoire.
There is an UN force (UNOCI) and a French military mission in the country, both of which are viewed with increasing hostility by Gbagbo’s supporters, because the international community has recognised Ouattara’s victory in the disputed second round of presidential elections on 28 November 2010.
“The newspapers and radio and television stations controlled or otherwise linked to Gbagbo continue to attack the UN forces and the French mission in Côte d’Ivoire, accusing them of conducting attacks against civilians. It is a strategy to delegitimise the UN which certified Ouattara’s victory in the second round of presidential elections. Incited by the propaganda, the supporters of Gbagbo delay and block the movement of UN vehicles in the streets of their neighbourhoods. Some of the UNOCI vehicles were burned,” says Fides sources.
The African Union has granted an extension to the mediation mission by four African Presidents (see Fides 28/02/2011), whose mandate expired yesterday, 28 February, extending it until the end of March. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 1/3/2011)