The UN peacekeeping mission in Côte d'Ivoire today called for all
parties to show restraint and to remain calm amidst reports of violent
clashes, including the use of mortars and heavy weaponry, in the
country's capital city Abidjan.
Côte d'Ivoire has been thrust into political uncertainty after the
incumbent president refused to concede electoral defeat recently. The
UN has endorsed the victory of opposition leader and President-elect,
Alassane Ouattara, in the run-off presidential elections held on 28
November, despite outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo's claim to have
Known by the acronym
<"http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/unoci/">UNOCI, the UN
mission reports that heavy fighting broke out earlier Thursday between
elements of the <i>Forces Nouvelles</i> and the <i>Forces de défense
et de sécurité</i>, which had reinforced their checkpoints on the main
passages to the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, where President-elect Ouattara
has been based.
The mission has established contact with both sides with the aim of
stopping the fighting. In addition, it has deployed a total of almost
800 military and police personnel and eight armoured personnel
carriers to provide security for the Golf Hotel, together with the
<i>Forces Nouvelles</i> and the <i>Licorne</i> troops provided by
France in support of UNOCI.
An additional UN formed police unit is being deployed from the city
Bouaké today and, as a precautionary measure, UNOCI has also
pre-positioned potable water, bulk water tanks, generators and fuel in
the Golf Hotel should any of these services be disrupted.
UNOCI has reiterated that violence is not the way to resolve the
political stalemate and that the parties should refrain from acts that
could jeopardize the numerous efforts being made to allow the will of
the Ivorian people, as expressed on 28 November 2010, to prevail.
Since the announcement of marches by the supporters of the
pro-Ouattara <i>Rassemblement des Houphouëtistes pour la Démocratie et
la Paix</i> (RHDP), the Secretary-General's Special Representative in
Côte d'Ivoire, Y. J. Choi, has increased his efforts to prevent
violence. He has been in contact with Prime Minister Guillaume Soro
and the Chief of Staff of the Forces de défense et de sécurité,
General Philippe Mangou, in an effort to help calm the situation.
In a statement by his spokesperson on Wednesday, Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon called on all the Ivorian parties and their supporters to
exercise patience and refrain from any actions that could,
accidentally or deliberately, provoke violence. He also stressed that
in the currently charged political environment such actions could have
unpredictable consequences, including reigniting civil war.<p