Terror on the Ivory Coast

The blogger Gateway Pundit relays the news that Muslim Troops have slaughtered 1,000 Christians on the Ivory Coast:

Early reports suggested that more than 800 people, largely from the Gbagbo-supporting Gueré tribe, were killed in a single day at the sprawling Salesian Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus mission in Duekoue, 300 miles west of Abidjan towards the Liberian border. The attackers seem to have been largely soldiers descended from Burkina Faso immigrant Muslim families loyal to Ouattara.

Late yesterday the Roman Catholic charity Caritas said more than 1000 people were massacred in Duekoue. A Caritas spokesman said Caritas workers visited the town and reported seeing a neighbourhood filled with bodies of people who had been shot and hacked to death with machetes.

The perpetrators of the massacre are troops loyal to the Muslim President Alassane Ouattara, rebels attempting to forcefully remove Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent President refusing to step down after allegedly losing the vote in November 2010.

As Gateway Pundit notes, “the conflict has been brewing for years,” with a country divided between the Muslim North and Christian South and a disputed election of a Muslim president against a Christian incumbent who has remained in office since 2000.

Further reading is required to grasp the true horror (and nature) of the conflict:

Local residents look on as the body of a man killed by gunfire lies covered in a side street of the Abobo neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast in January. Source: Associated Press

  • Human Rights Watch has been reporting and documenting this crisis since it began almost a decade ago. A 2005 report on the human rights cost of the political impasse charges Gbagbo’s forces, increasingly reliant on local militias [“parallel security forces”], with extrajudicial executions, the suppression of journalists and human rights activists, and the recruitment of demobilized “child soldiers” from Liberia to fight for the government. Both Gbagbo’s forces and his opposition are charged with the confiscation of money, crops, livestock and other property from civilians.

  • According to a 2007 report “pro-government and rebel forces in Côte d’Ivoire have subjected thousands of women and girls to rape and other brutal sexual assaults with impunity … throughout the five-year military-political crisis”:
    Human Rights Watch documented over 180 cases of sexual violence in Cote d’Ivoire, including individual and gang rape, sexual slavery, forced incest, and egregious sexual assault. [Graphic accounts of the nature of sexual crimes follow]. … Mixed groups of Liberian and Sierra Leonean mercenaries supporting both the Ivorian government and rebel forces in the west were guilty of especially egregious and widespread sexual abuses. However, even after the end of active hostilities, from 2004 onwards, sexual violence remained a significant problem throughout both rebel- and government-held areas.

  • More recent reports point to “a four-month organized campaign of human rights abuses, which probably rise to the level of crimes against humanity” on the part of Gbagbo’s forces:
    Gbagbo’s forces have killed, “disappeared,” and raped real and perceived supporters of Ouattara, Human Rights Watch has found. Armed men supporting Ouattara have also engaged in numerous extrajudicial executions of presumed pro-Gbagbo fighters and supporters.

    According to UN estimates, approximately 500 people, the vast majority civilians, have lost their lives as a result of the violence. In March alone, forces aligned with Gbagbo killed at least 50 civilians by firing mortars into neighborhoods known to be Ouattara strongholds. Pro-Gbagbo forces have also beaten and hacked and burned to death numerous perceived Ouattara supporters at checkpoints set up by militias.

    Pro-Ouattara forces in turn are charged with reprisal killings of civilians in areas where they have taken control. For full documentation see this March 15, 2011 report: Côte d’Ivoire: Crimes Against Humanity by Gbagbo Forces – As Crisis Deepens, Grave Abuses Committed by Both Sides.

  • Religiously motivated violence is rampant. The Associated Press reported a few days ago on the targeted assassinations of imams and the harrassment and murder of “those with northern or Muslim names” for being pro-Outtara:
    Ouattara supporters were beaten to death “with bricks, clubs, and sticks, or doused them with gas and burned them alive.”

    Cell phone videos of the incidents have been posted on YouTube and Facebook, often accompanied by dehumanizing and anti-Muslim comments.

    Fueling the fire is a relentless campaign of what the U.N. has called “lies” and “propaganda” on Gbagbo-controlled state television. The Radio-Television Ivorienne (RTI) is referred to by some foreign journalists as TV Mille Collines, in reference to the radio station that encouraged the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

    In one report aired last week, the anchorman smiled as he described a dozen alleged rebels killed by pro-Gbagbo soldiers in central Abidjan as “culled like little birds.” Graphic images of their bloodied bodies were interspersed with images of soldiers giving each other high five and cheering crowds.

    Meanwhile, Archbishop Ambrose Madtha, the Vatican’s representative to the Ivory Coast, informed Catholic News Service that Catholic priests have been targeted by armed groups and one priest has been kidnapped attempting to evacuate a seminary occupied by rebel soldiers.

Upon his election President Obama congratulated Ouattara on his victory in a “free and fair” election, urging Gbagbo to concede and step down — perhaps, in light of the news of recent massacres, he is evaluating the wisdom of this recommendation.

Meanwhile, Christian Evangelicals like Pat Robertson are stumping for Gbabgo, paying scarce attention to the human rights abuses committed by government forces under his watch.

“Christian vs. Muslim”; “Muslim vs. Christian”. It is doubtful whether justice would be achieved were either president to remain in power.

* * *

Over a million civilians have reportedly fled the country since the start of the conflict.

7 Responses to Terror on the Ivory Coast

  • The violence in Ivory Coast is indeed horrific.

    It is, however, largely tribal and political in nature.

    Don’t get me wrong: I think that Islam as such has serious problems with violence – but to describe the conflict in Ivory Coast as an essentially religious one is inaccurate.

    Best,
    Chris

  • The conflict may be tribal in origin, but the presence of Islam in any form in any area of conflict is a guarantee that the differences are magnified to the point of war and massacre. It is a satanic system that at its innermost core enjoins violence and rapine as a religious duty. This is why it has such purchase on tribes and peoples that live on plunder and mayhem. Paraphrasing Bertrand Russell, it have all the advantage of theft over honest toil. Considering only examples from Africa and then only from the recent past we had widespread killings of Christians in Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. But hey no worries, they are just a bunch of Christians.

  • Ivory Coast “savages vs. western cowards” . . . [see “Never Yet Melted” blog posts].

    In other related news, Obama throws another key GWOT ally, Yemeni Prez, under the bus as The Won previously discarded long-time ally, Mubarak.

    In other news: Saudi royalty courts China and Russia as US no longer seen as solid ally.

    Poor Israel . . .

    The US had better, post haste, end its dependence on foreign oil!

  • “It is, however, largely tribal and political in nature.”

    Chris A. — Yes, I’d agree it’s hard to isolate any one primary motivating element. There are definitely tribal, economic and political factors as well.

    What I took away from reading and researching this was the difficulty of fitting this kind of conflict into the framework of an ‘Islamic Conquest of Africa’, as some bloggers are doing.

    The free-for-all, morality-be-damned anarchic nature of the conflict with atrocities being committed by both sides reminds me more of the Rwanda than anything else.

    Contra Ivan, it is not just the Muslim presence that we can attribute a “guarantee of violence” to — as demonstrated by the horrific conduct of
    President Gbagbo’s own non-Islamic forces.

    Gbagbo portrays himself as a sincere “evangelical Christian” when schmoozing it up with Pat Robertson; his tolerance for the human rights abuses committed under his watch tell another story.

  • Sultan Knish covers the Ivory Coast at his site; its the same story all over again: when the Muslims are in a minority they are only too eager to please, but watch out when their number increase. I may not know anything at all about Africa, but having lived all my life in India and South East Asia, I can smell the Muslim MO from a mile off. Darwin himself would have trouble coming up with a system that can compete with the Islamic juggernaut, that evolved so purposefully for the ruin of others.

  • Peter Cardinal Turkson of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is just returned from his mission to Ivory Coast. He shared his take on the conflict with Vatican Radio here: http://www.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?c=477142

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