Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


I Coast exiles set up strategic base

10 October 2012, 16:04

New York - Exiles supporting Ivory Coast's former President Laurent Gbagbo have established a base in neighbouring Ghana from which they are working to destabilise the current Ivorian government, according to excerpts from a new report by a UN expert panel.

The supporters of Gbagbo, who is awaiting trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity, have a "military structure," have hired mercenaries in Ghana and Liberia and have established several training camps in eastern Liberia, the report said.

"They [Ivorian exiles] have established a strategic command in Ghana," it said, adding that their goal was to "destabilise" the government in Ivory Coast and return to power.

The observations were in an interim report from the so-called UN Group of Experts, which monitors compliance with the Ivory Coast sanctions regime.

The group plans to discuss its report with members of the UN Security Council's Ivory Coast sanctions committee on Friday, UN diplomats said.

Excerpts and information from the report, which also mentioned some less serious potential violations of the UN sanctions regime by the Ivorian government, were given to Reuters by a UN official and Security Council diplomats.

The findings appear to add credence to allegations made by the Ivorian authorities that military and civilian officials of the former government, many of whom fled across the border at the end of a brief conflict last year, are continuing their fight against President Alassane Ouattara's government from Ghanaian soil.

Series of deadly attacks

The experts said that some pro-Gbagbo field commanders, collectively known as "the generals", boasted nicknames like "Western Tarzan", "Bob Marley", "Bushdog" and "Iron Jacket".

The experts also identified the leaders of a June 2012 operation that led to the deaths of seven UN peacekeepers from Niger. One of the leaders went by the alias "Rambo".

The peacekeepers were killed when their patrol came under fire close to Ivory Coast's porous border with Liberia, in what Ivorian authorities said was a cross-border raid. Ivory Coast announced in July that four men had been arrested in Liberia and would be extradited to stand trial.

Ivory Coast announced on Monday that it would reopen its eastern border with Ghana, more than two weeks after it was closed over a series of deadly attacks Ivorian officials said were launched from Ghanaian territory.

Ghana has said the pro-Gbagbo exiles are political refugees and has promised to investigate the attacks, which have worsened relations already strained by Accra's refusal to act on international arrest warrants for former members of Gbagbo's government issued by Ivory Coast last year.

Gbagbo's refusal to accept defeat in a 2010 election won by Ouattara led to a brief war last year that killed more than 3,000 people.

Attempts to recruit Mali islamists

The experts' report said pro-Gbagbo supporters were also looking to operate from Mali, which descended into chaos in March when soldiers toppled the president and left a power vacuum that enabled Tuareg rebels to seize two-thirds of the country. Islamist extremists, some al Qaeda allies, hijacked the revolt in northern Mali.

"On 12 July, 2012, a meeting took place in Takoradi [Ghana] where various exiled groups supporting Gbagbo united their efforts and defined a course of action with a view of returning to power in Cote d'Ivoire, including the development of a political and military strategy to identify possible bases of operations in neighbouring countries such as Mali," it said.

Pro-Gbagbo elements appeared to be trying to recruit Islamist rebels in Mali while encouraging the country's military junta to help destabilize Ivory Coast, the report said.

It said there were contacts between Gbagbo backers and Ansar Dine, an Islamist group among those in control in northern Mali. Ansar Dine is aligned with al-Qaeda and promotes adherence to strict Islamic law.

Asked why supporters of Gbagbo, a Christian, would be aligning themselves with Islamists, a UN official told Reuters: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

The West African regional group Ecowas is planning a military intervention to end the Islamists' control of northern Mali.

The experts' report on Ivory Coast also said Ouattara's government may have violated a UN arms embargo by importing military radio equipment, uniforms and knives.

The UN sanctions on Ivory Coast have been in place since 2004 and include restrictions on the export of rough diamonds.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...