When Mark Doyle who has been an Africa correspondent for BBC as long as I can remember tweets: “#Ivorycoast is reminding me of rwanda in 1994. There, I’ve said it. I was in kigali most of the genocide.” I believe it’s time to start taking things seriously.
Other bad signs include:
Thousands of the pro Gbagbo “Young Patriots” youth militia are recruited to the army. I have heard that not only arent they getting paid, but they have to pay a fee to get enrolled, so it looks like they’ll make up for it by attacking and pillaging the civil population. Reuters reports:
Analysts worry it [the youth milita] is a weapon even Gbagbo can’t control.
As they streamed into the stadium, soldiers tried in vain to stop more getting in, but were overwhelmed, as the crowd pushed down a gate. Efforts to cordon them off with iron bars were half successful. At one point, a frustrated soldier whipped some with a rope like an overseer to push them behind a line.
“Do you want a Kalashnikov?” shouted a voice amplified by loudspeakers. “Yes! Yes!” shouted the crowd.
Chanting slogans like “We will kill them now” and “The rebels will die”, Gbagbo prospective recruits gathered at a stadium(Reuters)
On France24 I read:
In an official statement on Friday, Gbagbo urged “greater responsibility and collaboration” between citizens and the FDS [the armed forces] so that “suspicious presences” are “neutralised”.
Since suspicious presences can mean nationals of ECOWAS countries, members of ethnic groups that did not largely vote for Gbagbo and anyone suspected of not supporting Gbagbo, this looks quite like a call for genocide.
And UNHCR reports that there is a mass exodus from Abidjan:
On Monday morning and over the weekend, UNHCR monitors saw thousands of people trying to leave from Adjame and Yopougon bus terminals, the two largest in Abidjan. Many families slept there in order to make sure they get seats.
Some of them told UNHCR monitors they were leaving Abidjan because of an appeal made on Saturday by youth leader Charles Blé Goudé for civilians to join the ranks of the armed forces loyal to presidential candidate Laurent Gbago on Monday. Reportedly thousands of youth have responded to this appeal, which those fleeing viewed as a call for war.
The bus terminals were already crowded with families seeking to leave the southern city in the wake of last week’s heavy and spreading violence, the worst Abidjan has witnessed since the post-election crisis started in late November.
The cost of transportation at the volatile start of this week has increased sharply, possibly tripled, according to a humanitarian partner whose staff have received requests from internally displaced people (IDPs) to help them leave Abidjan.