from Africa in Transition

Cote d’Ivoire: How Much Can the U.N. Take?

March 1, 2011

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A boy carrying his belongings passes a U.N. armoured vehicle as residents flee with their belongings after clashes between forces loyal to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara in Abobo, Abidjan February 27, 2011. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

As international attention and resources continue to be diverted to Libya, conditions are deteriorating in Cote d’Ivoire. Alongside outbreaks of fighting between Gbagbo forces and Ouattara supporters, Gbagbo and his supporters’ ire is being directed toward the UN. In one incident, Gbagbo supporters kidnapped U.N.staff. In a separate one, Gbagbo forces fired on and successfully prevented U.N. staff from investigating claims that Belarus had shipped attack helicopters to Cote d’Ivoire, breaking the arms embargo.

Without the U.N., who has so far refused to leave despite demands from Gbagbo, Ouattara would likely leave Abidjan for the north of the country and Cote d’Ivoire would split.

The question is how much violence directed at it can the United Nations stomach?

More on:

Sub-Saharan Africa

Ivory Coast

Heads of State and Government

Wars and Conflict

International Organizations

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