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Côte d'Ivoire

  • Written by IRIN aj/cb

Côte d’Ivoire refugees report murder and rape

Displaced people crossing the border from Ivory Coast to Liberia. Ivoirians who have fled the fighting have reported incidents of abuse and murder to NGOs and human rights groups. Photo: Flickr/DFID - UK Department for International Development.[DAKAR] Ivoirians who have fled across the border to Liberia have reported incidents of rape, sexual abuse and murder to NGOs and human rights groups working in Grand Geddeh and Nimba counties.
Children in villages in Liberia’s Nimba County have told field workers at NGO Equip that they were forced to watch as their mothers were raped and then killed. In several cases, the children themselves were then sexually assaulted.

A woman told Equip staff she was forced to watch while armed men raped her four-year-old daughter. Most attacks have taken place outside villages as people tried to flee, or at checkpoints, refugees said.

Refugees say sexual assaults have been committed by both armed supporters of Laurent Gbagbo and of Alassane Ouattara, as well as militia members at checkpoints, and to a lesser extent, opportunists who have preyed on refugees’ vulnerability.

  • Written by IRIN aa/np/mw

Hospitals running out of supplies in Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire hospitals and pharmacies are running out of medicines and supplies  Photo: Alexis Adélé/IRIN.[ABIDJAN] Thomas Luba, 35, had to spend half a month’s salary on his latest kidney dialysis – 10 times the usual cost. Medicines are falling far short of demand as sanctions block vessels carrying supplies from Europe.

“Normally I should have two treatments per week,” he told IRIN at the Treichville Teaching Hospital in the commercial capital Abidjan. “But since the beginning of March I’m able to get just one; the hospital is facing difficulties and has imposed higher fees [25,000 CFA francs or US$54 instead of 2,500 CFA francs]… Clearly I am at risk of dying.”

Hospital and pharmacy workers told IRIN that many medicines and other supplies were scarce weeks after the European Union applied sanctions, blocking vessels arriving at Côte d’Ivoire’s ports. About 90 percent of medical supplies in the country come from Europe – 80 percent by sea, according to Christine Adjobi, health minister in the cabinet of incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo.

  • Written by IRIN np/cb

Côte d'Ivoire: 'People burn tyres with the bodies to defuse the smell'

People who have been able to escape Abobo. Many left behind face intimidation by armed men when trying to flee. Photo: Alexis Adélé/IRIN.[DAKAR] When people in parts of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire's commercial capital, see smoke these days, they don't know if just tyres are burning, or tyres and bodies, resident Paul* told IRIN.

Paul lives in Abobo, a district thousands of people have fled in recent days because of heavy fighting between forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo and armed groups backing Alassane Ouattara.

"When we see smoke, we figure residents are probably taking care of some of the bodies. One day there was a body right in front of my door. We pulled it to an isolated area until it could be burned. The undertakers won't come for bodies once they've started to decompose so people in the neighbourhood are incinerating corpses to get rid of the smell and especially the disease risk.

  • Written by IRIN mm/cb

Côte d'Ivoire: Cocoa ban latest worry for growers

A grower in Daloa, part of the cocoa-producing belt. Growing conditions have been ideal for a good harvest. Photo: Monica Mark/IRIN.[ABIDJAN, 17 February 2011 (IRIN) - An embargo on the export of cocoa beans in Côte d’Ivoire is curbing income for the country’s 900,000 growers, the latest to be caught in the crossfire of the political fallout.

Presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara on 23 January called for a month-long ban on cocoa exports, one of several tactics being deployed by his internationally recognized government to increase pressure on Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to quit office.

Analysts say most of the estimated US$120 million needed to run a skeleton economy - paying salaries at the expense of infrastructure and development - usually comes from the key sectors of cocoa and petroleum. Cocoa brought in US$1 billion in foreign exchange receipts in 2006, versus $1.3 billion from oil and other refined products, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

  • Written by IRIN mm/cs/oa

Côte d'Ivoire: Mediation and frustration

Former PM, Alassane Ouattara, is the internationally recognised winner of presidential elections held in November. However, the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, refuses to cede power. Photo: Flickr/BBC World News.[DAKAR] Cote d’Ivoire’s crisis, triggered by a contested presidential election in November, continues to defy local and international mediation, with the situation muddied by contradictory headlines, and hints of diplomatic breakthroughs that seem based more on conjecture than reality.

“We have seen so many communiqués and resolutions come and go that we don’t even read them now”, an Ivoirian civil society activist told IRIN from Abidjan. “You still don’t get any sense of concrete action”.

Two men, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, are laying claim to the presidency, with Gbagbo refusing to yield to international pressure to step down. After more than 40 days of deadlock, there is mounting criticism from Ivoirians over the mediation process, as their own problems deepen.

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