A minister loyal to outgoing Ivory Coast President Gbagbo has urged the nation’s citizens to obstruct any activity by UN peacekeepers, according to MISNA.
Relatedly, MISNA sources said that in the cities of Abidjan and Duékoué there are growing fears that the post-electoral crisis could break out into a new civil war.
Charles Blé Goudé, Minister of Youth, and having earned a ‘reputation’ for his responsibilities in the most dramatic phases of the conflict, has reiterated the accusations of animosity toward the UN and asked the people to prevent peacekeepers to “gain access in any district of Abidjan,” reports MISNA.
From Duékoué, not far from the western border with Liberia, Salesian missionaries report that “there is no news of new incidents but the clashes in the area of Zouan-Houinien yesterday (Thursday) are an alarming signal,” according to MISNA.
The fighting is said to have pitted forces loyal to Gbagbo against the former New Forces rebels which now back Alassane Ouattara, considered to be the legitimate president by the UN and the African Union in view of the results from the November 2010 presidential election.
Thursday, the UN mission in Ivory Coast, ONUCI, stressed that the fighting “risk causing a resumption of the armed conflict and a violation of the ceasefire” agreed in 2007.
Thursday night there was also fighting reported in the political capital of Yamoussoukro, where gunfire was heard near the Defense and Security Forces’ barracks loyal to Gbagbo.
The violence of the past few days in Abidjan has been especially worrisome. Fearing more fighting, many families have started to abandon the Abobo quarter, one of Ouattara’s strongholds.
“The people are afraid” said Father Francisco Vicente da Silva, who is in Abidjan with the Pontifical Council for Foreign Missions (PIME).
The fear is confirmed by the fact that the newspaper “L’Intelligent d’Abidjan” has suspended publication for the time being. A communiqué from the editorial staff says “there aren’t the conditions favorable to the work of the journalists, who are constantly being threatened and molested”.