Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ivory Coast: Ouattara supporters in deadly clashes.. 20 dead

Source: BBC
Supporters of Alassane Ouattara had planned to march on the offices of state TV, which has praised Laurent Gbagbo

At least 20 people have died in Ivory Coast in clashes between troops and demonstrators, says a spokeswoman for incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo.

Ten protesters and 10 members of the security forces had died, she said.

Troops loyal to Mr Gbagbo have clashed with supporters of Alassane Ouattara, who has been staying at a hotel in Abidjan since the disputed polls.

Both men claim to have won the election, and each has declared himself president.

The UN Security Council has expressed deep concern over the violence.

It warned that all sides would be held accountable under international law for any attacks against civilians.

Most of the violence was reported in Abidjan, but on Thursday afternoon it appeared to be spreading, with reports emerging of unrest elsewhere.

Former rebels from the New Forces fighters apparently tried to storm positions held by the military near the town of Tiebissou, just south of the ceasefire line agreed in 2003 to end the country's year-long civil war.

The sides exchanged fire and civilians fled the town, according to reports, but there were no confirmed casualties.

Meanwhile in Abidjan, soldiers and police were standing guard at almost every major road junction.

Violence broke out in several parts of the city as security forces tried to prevent crowds from gathering.

Mr Ouattara's supporters had planned to take over state media channel Radio Television Ivorienne (RTI), which has been broadcasting reports praising Mr Gbagbo since the disputed election.

But early on Thursday, they clashed with security forces, who opened fire on the crowds.

Separately, in the south of the city, gun battles erupted between soldiers who control the area and former rebels who are guarding the Golf Hotel, where Mr Ouattara has been based since the poll.

"There is shooting all over the place, there is artillery, there are explosions," a witness told Reuters news agency.

AFP news agency quoted a UN source as saying that 800 peacekeepers had been sent with supplies to the hotel.

Mr Ouattara's supporters, including his nominated prime minister Guillaume Soro, were trying to leave the hotel compound and march to the TV station when fighting broke out.

Kehi Edward, a spokesman for Mr Ouattara, told the BBC that they were being blockaded.

"The military service, the factions close to Mr Gbagbo, have closed both ends of the hotel so there is no traffic in and no traffic out of the hotel," he said.

US officials said the US embassy, which is near the Golf Hotel, had been hit by an "errant rocket-propelled grenade" during the battle, but no-one was injured.

Earlier in the day, international prosecutors said they would bring legal proceedings against anyone accused of causing deaths.

And UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman warned that "those who incite or perpetrate violence, and those who use the media for that purpose... will be held accountable for their actions".

He reiterated that the UN, which has about 10,000 peacekeepers in the country and is helping to guard the Golf Hotel, wanted Mr Gbagbo to stand down.

The trouble stems from last month's run-off election, which the Electoral Commission said Mr Ouattara won by 54% to 46%.

Mr Gbagbo refused to admit defeat, and the Constitutional Council then annulled some results from the north and declared Mr Gbagbo the winner.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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