Nightmare getting worse instead of ending

When writing the last post I expected combats in Abidjan to be relatively quick and leading to the fall of Gbagbo, given what had happened in the other cities, and the strengthened UN mandate.

However, what’s happening now in Abidjan  is not good at all.  There seems to be a spiral of violence where not only pro-Gbagbo forces commit human rights abuses and pillaging, but also pro-Ouattara forces plus, I guess, gangs not affiliated with either side. And it seems the violence could last for a while which is devastating.

Via Chris Blattman I found a great essay called Fragments of War written by humanitarian aid worker Mark Cannavera that shows Mark’s emotions about the tragedy of the ongoing violence. Excerpt:

When my friends see armed men on the street in Abidjan, there is no way to tell who they, orwhat they are fighting for, if anything. Is it fighting? Just hooliganism? If they cannot tell eachother part, if they cannot divvy and cordon off their identities, or their ideologies, how do theyknow who to shoot? Is it all discriminate? Isn’t war always indiscriminate? Indiscriminate killing– my, that is a stupid phrase.

Some “pro-Northern” fighters arrived at my Northern friend’s temporary house yesterday. He escaped from his encounter with them with only a head wound, knocked upside the head with a Kalash. Why?

Too many questions.

Regarding pro-Ouattara forces behaving badly – I get that the ex-rebel forces can be hard to control, and that young people from a poor background with a Kalashnikov in a situation where there is chaos and little accountability are likely to do nasty things.

But I expect leadership in the pro-Ouattara camp to do all they can to rein in their forces and be very clear about what is not acceptable, and stress that individual soldiers will be held accountable.

I have not heard very much along these lines yet, so that’s a bit of a disappointment.

UPDATE: Now Ouattara’s PM Soro has talked about the massacre in Douekoue saying exactly what I was hoping for, so that’s good. Hope it’s not just words.  More in Le Figaro [in French]


2 thoughts on “Nightmare getting worse instead of ending

  1. Nicolas

    Hello Martin,
    I read your blog with great interest during the last months. I hardly ever leave a comment on any blog. Thank you for your work!

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