Ivory Coast: noble intentions vs. priorities

25 May 2011 by Bram Posthumus

President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast says he wants national dialogue and reconciliation and an end to impunity. Noble intentions - but his country may have more pressing issues to deal with, plus the fact that not everyone is prepared to reconcile.

Ivorian refugees

‘We lost two of our friends. One of them we found with a hole in his head, the other one they had tried to burn. I took pictures of them. They’re in my cellphone.’
‘When they entered our town, we ran. They were shooting everywhere. They killed people. They killed our brother.’

‘I lost everything. I had a house and a business - but it’s all gone. Stolen, by the rebels.’

‘I am sitting here in a camp and I have no idea where my husband is. I cannot phone, there is no connection. No news.’

‘They were shelling our neighbourhood, every night. People died - in their own homes! And then I started noticing my children ran indoors, terrified, whenever there was a loud bang. That’s when I decided to take them with me and leave.’

Ivorian refugees, recounting their experiences. They live in refugee camps or in overcrowded host villages. Most are in neighbouring Liberia. The post-electoral crisis in Ivory Coast lasted four months, left an estimated 3,000 people dead and sent tens of thousands across its borders.

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