ABIDJAN, Cote d’Ivoire - While the United Nations considers to send another 1,000 to 2,000 peacekeepers to Cote d’Ivoire (10,000 are in place here now), it seems the popular opinion--at least in the capital city of Abidjan--is that it is time for the U.N. to go.
It may make little sense for the international body to send additional troops at a time when hostilities against the U.N. are growing.
The U.N. peacekeeping mandate ended Dec. 31, but was extended for another six months. Many Ivorians—especially those who support incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo say the U.N. is no longer impartial here; it’s troops are siding with Alassane Ouatarra, the man who some members of the international community named as the Ivorian president.
Before I met for an interview with President Gagbo this week, I went to a hospital where I met two men who had been shot by United Nations troops Dec. 29. Both victims—one a pastor—suggested the “peacekeepers” intentionally opened fire on a hostile, unarmed crowd.
I talked to President Gbagbo about U.N. support of his opponent, Alassane Ouatarra and I also asked him about the government blockade of Ouatarra and his supporters at the Golf Hotel. Federal troops still prevent access in and out of the hotel even though Gbagbo promised to lift the blockade. He now says he will do so once 300 armed Ouatarra supporters at the hotel lay down their weapons.
The stalemate continues.
Clip 1: Ouatarra’s Supporters need to Disarm
Clip 2: U.N. Protecting Ouatarra
Clip 3: U.N. Needs to Go
Clip 4: U.N. Troops Need Low Profile
Clip 5: Investigatory Commission Needed