International community must pull Cote d’Ivoire from the abyss
International Crisis Group
3 April 2011
(…) Mass killings and extreme violence are unfolding in Abidjan. Côte d’Ivoire’s civil war between forces supporting president elect Alassane Ouattara and those loyal to Laurent Gbagbo has deteriorated into major urban warfare in the commercial capital. In other parts of the country, particularly in the western city of Duékoué, where large-scale massacres have already occurred, the death toll could reach thousands within days. Gbagbo has now called for full military mobilisation to protect his palace and other key installations as a last-stand effort.
The situation demands an immediate ceasefire by both parties to avoid further massive civilian casualties, and Gbagbo’s acceptance of Ouattara as president. (…)
(…) In addition, the following steps should be taken:
· The UN mission (ONUCI) must deploy all its available formed police units (FPUs) within Abidjan, as well as military troops, and reinforce its presence in the west of the country, particularly in and around Duékoué, Guiglo, Blolequin, Toulepleu and Daloa. Troop contributing countries should also accelerate deployment of soldiers up to their maximum mandated capacity of 11,000 (as opposed to 9,000 on the ground now).
· The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union should mobilise all international partners, including the EU and the US, to bolster ONUCI’s efforts.
· Ouattara, the Forces républicaines and its commanders, including Prime Minister Guillaume Soro and their regional sponsors, should take all measures to ensure respect for international humanitarian law. They should understand that international support for Ouattara’s election victory, and his legitimacy, will quickly evaporate if their military campaign becomes responsible for mass atrocity crimes.
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