After Ivory Coast talks fail, military action among disquieting options

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga


The failure of mediation in an electoral dispute in Ivory Coast could result in military action.

The outgoing Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and internationally-recognized President-elect Alassane Ouattara both claimed to have won the country’s presidential election, though Ouattara is recognized as the winner.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga recently announced the latest failure of talks.

A local church source told the Vatican-based news agency Fides that the prime minster of Kenya is “deeply disappointed” that Gbagbo has not honored his promise to lift the siege at the hotel where Ouattara is staying.

There are “disquieting scenarios” on the horizon, including a military option carried out by the armies of the Countries in the Economic Community of Western African States. The chiefs of these armies met on Jan 18 in Bamako, Mali to discuss a possible intervention to depose Gbagbo and to install Ouattara.

Nigerian General Oluseyi Petinrin said that each country in the community has made their troops available for an eventual military operation in Ivory Coast. The African troops will enter from the north of the country, which is controlled by forces loyal to Ouattara, because the ports and airports in the south are controlled by the regular army loyal to Gbagbo.

“We hope that the Lord will spare us from violence, also because one cannot lead a country with a heritage of a bloodbath,” Fides’ source said. He added that there is an attempt on the part of a mediator group to try again to find a way to end the crisis peacefully

On Jan. 19 the United Nations Security Council voted to send 2,000 additional peacekeeping troops to protect civilians and to deter violence.

At least 247 people have been killed in post-election violence. U.N. peacekeeper forces have come under attack from forces loyal to Gbago.

Ghana, a major regional force, has ruled out sending troops and opposes a military intervention.

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