Continuing Trouble in Côte d’Ivoire

via BBC News – Ivory Coast: Rebels take western town Zouan-Hounien.

Ivory Coast rebels fighting to oust President Laurent Gbagbo have taken control of a town in the west of the country, Mr Gbagbo’s forces confirm.

The rebels, who control the north of the country, seized the town of Zouan-Hounien in an overnight attack.

Witnesses say unrest has spread to the capital Yamoussoukro, and the UN has warned that the country is at risk of relapsing into civil war.

 

16 million people, half under the age of 15, in a country the size of New Mexico, with over 60 different ethnic groups – a recipe for disaster.

The country has 3 distinct regions – northern Sahel, southwestern forest, and southeastern lagoons.  Once upon a time, the Ivory Coast was a model of a stable African state, but the situation has deteriorated in the country that is the world’s leading producer of cocoa.  Since the troubles began after the election of Alassane Ouattara as president, exports have dropped.  Former President and loser of the election Laurent Gbagbo has refused to step down, and a stand-off has ensued.  UN forces are protecting the new president as fighting rages around the country.

Separately, the UN’s refugee agency says the number of civilians fleeing west to Liberia has surged.

“Until mid-week we were seeing around 100 people crossing the border daily. But over the past 24 hours alone, the numbers coming across have swollen to 5,000 people,” the agency said in a statement.

African leaders have urged Gbagbo to cede power to the winner, but they have not been successful in their requests.

What will happen next?  Most likely, another un-civil war in another African state.

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