Wednesday, April 6, 2011

KILLING FIELD in Doukoue’, Ivory Coast


Baba Tunde Olateji, FrontPageAfrica Correspondent

Doukoue’, Ivory Coast-
Ivory Coast
Terror has visited Doukoue’ were scores of men, women, children and the elderly lay dead; some scrapped naked and burned alive; others hanged and dragged through the principal streets amid wailing with their hands tied behind them. Until that fateful event of the invasion and capture of Doukoue’ by forces said to be sympathetic to Alassane Ouattara, one of the protagonists in the country’s presidential dispute, these peaceful and innocent citizens, mainly women, children and the elderly, were alive and happy.

Unaware of what was afoot, they came face to face with their ‘liberators’--- men who have been hired to free them from the clutches of the dictatorial regime of President Laurent Gbagbo and to give them a new life; a new beginning and democracy that will never be. For many relatives of the victims, it was a colourful dream—a colourful liberation warmly articulated and supported by the international community in the name of democracy that never was! It produced pains, agonies, and deaths of scores of innocent women, children and the elderly burned alive with the charred bodies strewn across Duoukoue’.

But hours after their ‘liberation’, scores lay dead in the pools of blood. Their untimely killing is a telling example of what liberation means in African politics.

The mass killing has drawn ire from Ouattara supporters.

‘Liberated irony’

Sadie Toure, who sold pastries at a local store just before the post-election violence blames the international community for allowing the bloodshed to get this far.

Said Toure: ‘‘These innocent victims were alive until Doukoue’ was ‘liberated’ by forces allegedly sympathetic to Alassane Ouattara, one of the protagonists in the power struggle in La Cote’ d’Ivoire. Now that their gruesome deaths have presented a rather chilling example of what is still in the offing, what other evidence does the international community want to stop defending Ouattara’s ill-fated claims to the presidency and what hope is there for those Ivoirians that do not support brazen his alliance with rebel forces to take state power at all cost?’’

Toure says the victims were slaughtered; butchered and hacked in their droves in cold blood and made to pay for whatever sins the regime in Abidjan headed by President Gbagbo has committed for continuously holding onto state power.

Although far removed from the epic-center of power, poor and diseased these victims, their massacre in Doukoue’ presents a rather precarious picture of the scale of terror and brutality associated with those who armed struggle as a means of installing Alassane Ouattara as President of Cote’ d’Ivoire. In truth, the Doukoue’ massacre clearly unmasks a new look into the inner workings of international politics and the grand designs of licensing instability, mayhem and murder.

A Gbagbo supporter who was an eyewitness to the massacre at Doukoue’ said Cote’ d’Ivoire is bleeding not because Ouattara was declared as winner of the presidential polls but because those who made such declaration decided to ignore and sidestep article 98 of the Ivorian Constitution which gives exclusive and instructive powers to the constitutional council not only to certify elections results but to make its decision binding and conclusive as to the outcomes of all elections results.

Ethnic cleansing vs. casualties

Those who have been murdered in Doukoue’ had hoped to see a new day; a new leadership but that hope has been dashed by those who ‘liberated’ them from this earth into the abysmal paths of gruesome death in the name of freedom. Truly, they are freed but murdered in cold blood for reasons other than ethic cleansing and as casualties they are the prize of what Ouattara’s presidency means.

It is still not clear how and why many people were killed by those who went to liberate them. But one thing that is clear is that, their deaths have truly exposed the deep ethic divisions, mistrusts and suspicions between rival forces over the presidency.

A senior Ivorian official and Gbagbo supporter, speaking after seeing the scale of the mayhem said: ‘‘See by yourself the behaviour of the people of the man that Sarkozy, Obama and Ban ki moon wants as president of Cote d ivoire, you can see how they are violent and the language spoken in the movie is from Burkina Faso. This is what the international community wants for our country, actually they are broken houses, stealing all the goods of people, killing those who resist, I don t know how they will rule this country. This is what Ivorians wanted to avoid for the country, the international community will come after as they did in RWANDA to apologize with compassion but all these poor men and women will not be there to hear the hypocrisies of the international community. What a world are we building for our children and the future? Is this the democracy they are building in Africa? May GOD help us! Indeed, his comments underline the traumatic expericen of the Ivorian people and reveal an awful ot of the motive of Ouattara and his supporters.
Just how long will the blood thirsty campaign, mayhem and murder last to justify Ouattara’s claims to the presidency is a question that only those in the international community who have licensed this reign of terror to remove President Laurent Gbagbo from power at all cost, can answer. In the meantime, just who the next batch of victims will be, we cannot say for sure.’’

UN eyeing greater role

Meanwhile, as the fighting intensifies, the U.N. special envoy to the country Y.J. Choi, on Monday said snipers loyal to incumbent Gbagbo were firing directly at peacekeepers in the country prompting the UN to take a greater role in the crisis. "We are planning action, we can no longer condone (Gbagbo's forces) reckless and mindless attack on civilians and the United Nations blue helmets with heavy weapons," he told the BBC.

The UN envoy added that the 9,000 peacekeepers stationed in Ivory Coast don't have a mandate to remove Gbagbo from power but they are permitted to respond to military aggression with force.

Gbagbo refuses to step down despite international recognition that his rival Outtara won a November election meant to unite a country divided by civil war.

Forces loyal to Ouattara are said to be on the verge of launching a major assault on Gbagbo forces in Abidjan, the commercial capital of Ivory Coast. French military forces took control of the main airport after Paris said it was considering evacuating its citizens from the country.

The International Committee for the Red Cross announced Monday that at least 800 people were killed in the Ivorian town of Duekoue last week.

Duekoue is a strategic area because of its proximity to the cocoa-producing areas of the country. Ivory Coast is the world's largest cocoa producer.

The International Crisis Group said recently the conflict in Ivory Coast bore the hallmarks of civil war.
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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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