Ivory Coast On The Brink

December 7, 2010

A week after the Ivory Coast’s presidential election, both candidates have declared victory, sworn themselves in and appointed cabinets. Unfortunately, this means a return to violence and instability for the country’s civilians, many of whom hoped this election would mark an end to the conflict, which split the country in 2002. Instead, clashes between supporters of both parties and the security forces have led to 20 people being shot dead. Among the dead are Bayo Alassane, a man who was shot while on his way to buy cigarettes, and Kaboré Moumouni, a butcher who was shot en route to work. Additionally, the insecurity has led many warehouses to close, leading to shortages of meat, fish, gas and cooking oil and prices of sugar, beef and potatoes skyrocketing. Russia today blocked a statement by the UN Security Council that would have recognized challenger Alassane Ouattara as the winner.

Security forces have fired live rounds at protesters © APGraphicsBank

Moreover, with no indication that a compromise is near between the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, this violence isn’t likely to stop any time soon. In fact, with the rebel army that has controlled northern Ivory Coast since 2002 aligned with Ouattara, the Ivorian army aligned with Gbagbo and armed militias on both sides, a continued impasse could lead to massive violence.

The Ivory Coast’s security forces, rebel army and armed militias must oblige by international standards and protect the country’s civilians.