Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ivorian liberation forces turn guns on each other

By MICHELLE FAUL, Associated Press

Source: Yahoo News

Reuters – Ibrahim Coulibaly (C),
head of the "Invisible Commandos",
 walks with his troops through the …
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast – Ivory Coast's new army turned its guns Tuesday on a former ally who helped liberate Abidjan and install the democratically elected president, military sources said of a major setback as the country was beginning to return to normal.

Residents said heavy machine-gun fire rocked the working-class suburb of Abobo about 12 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) Wednesday around renegade warlord Ibrahim "IB" Coulibaly's headquarters. Residents scattered and ran to lock themselves into their homes. Coulibaly orchestrated two failed coup attempts in 1999 and 2002 before starting a rebellion.

Four military sources from both sides confirmed that the new army of former rebels led by Prime Minister and Defense Minister Guillaume Soro attacked Coulibaly's headquarters but were met with fierce fighting that lasted more than an hour.

"We drove them back all the way to their base at the mayor's office," Capt. Felix Anoble of Coulibaly's Invisible Commando told The Associated Press.

Anoble named three commanders under Soro's forces as leading the attack, including fighters for Gen. Issiaka Wattao.

Wattao earlier in the day denied that there had been infighting among pro-Ouattara forces.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press he said that Coulibaly was not a problem, but suggested that he would be attacked if he did not accept Ouattara's authority as president. Coulibaly on Sunday pledged allegiance to Ouattara during an AP interview, saying he regards as a father the man whose bodyguard corps he led from 1990 to 1993 when he was an army sergeant and Ouattara was prime minister.

Coulibaly began the rebellion to oust Gbagbo that divided the country between north and south, but he and Soro fought violent battles for leadership of the rebel movement in 2004, which Soro won.

It's not clear what power Ouattara, a technocrat and former deputy chief of the International Monetary Fund, has over the former warlords. He initially tried to distance himself from the rebels who were fighting in his name. But when his calls for international aid to oust Gbagbo went unanswered, he acknowledged their loyalty to him and now calls them the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast, commanded by Wattao.

"The power in this country rests with Alassane Ouattara, and he (Coulibaly) cannot dispute that," Wattao said.

Asked if Coulibaly's men would be integrated into the new army, he said, "It is better for him if he joins the new army. If he doesn't join us, he will be killing those children of his," he said in a derogatory reference to Coulibaly's fighters.

Mortar shells exploded and heavy fighting continued Wednesday in parts of the sprawling northern suburb of Yopougon, where militiamen who fought for Gbagbo have holed up.

Both Wattao and Coulibaly said it was them doing the fighting there to dislodge the last pockets of resistance. Residents have said both sides are fighting in different areas.

"We took some militia leaders prisoner in Yopougon today and we're holding them here as proof that it is us liberating that area," Coulibaly's Anoble said.

The setback comes nine days after the arrest of disgraced former President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to accept his November election defeat and took a last stand with his security forces turning rockets and mortars on civilians in the commercial capital of Abidjan.

Coulibaly returned from years in exile to begin the fight to liberate Abidjan in January when Gbagbo's forces fired rockets and mortars onto civilians in the Abobo neighborhood of predominantly Ouattara supporters.

At a news conference Monday, Coulibaly, who calls himself a general, indicated he expects recognition for his victory, though he did not say what form that should take.

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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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