Tag Archives: Alassane Ouattara

3 questions following the terrorist attacks in Bassam

Fourteen civilians and two soldiers have been killed in the Ivory Coast beach resort of Grand Bassam following an attack on the popular weekend retreat, officials say.

Sunday’s attack targeted three hotels in the southeastern town which is located about 40km east of the country’s economic capital, Abidjan.

“Six attackers came to the beach in Bassam this afternoon,” President Alassane Ouattara said during a visit to the site.

“We have 14 civilians and two special forces soldiers who were unfortunately killed.”

The terrorist threat had been hovering over Cote d’Ivoire for a few months now. Risk levels were even increased after the Mali and Burkina Faso attacks, that resulted in the tragic death of both local and foreigners. Although the security measures had been increased in Abidjan, few anticipated the attack to happen in Grand Bassam.

More details are coming from the investigation, but here are a few analysis points:

1. These small-scale terrorist attacks just became the biggest security threat in Cote d’Ivoire.
After the Mali and Burkina Faso attacks, and to some extent Westgate in Kenya and the countless Boko Haram crimes, Ivorians are now falling victim to terrorism.
By the nature of these events (light automatic weaponry, limited logistics, low profile target locations), localised precautionary measures can only go so far in protecting civilians. African countries have to work together to address the root causes of the rise of extremism, and provide a comprehensive African solution to stop terrorism.

2. These events will call for a re-organisation of the security apparel to face a different kind of threat.
This is a different of challenge that the government is facing. The relatively high volume of light weapons circulating in the country had created a climate of insecurity, that has been lingering for the past decades in Cote d’Ivoire. But with the new terror threat, and attackers willing to die, the security forces have to change their approach and get used to this new situation.

3. Beyond the human toll, the attacks will have a long-lasting impact on the economy.
With the improvements in stability and infrastructure, the hospitality and tourism sectors had experienced a strong growth, leading to significant investments. But as we have seen in Egypt, Tunisia and Kenya, we can also expect repercussions in the sector. The response from the government, and the efficiency of the security measures will be crucial for the industry.

Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this tragic event.

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Alassane Ouattara interview on BBC Hardtalk

Cote d’Ivoire was once one of west Africa’s growth engines. Today, the population is trying to recover from the civil war that tore the country apart.

After a period of conflict in which many Ivorians were killed, the ousted leader Laurent Gbagbo is now awaiting trial in The Hague, at the International Criminal Court. The new Ivorian President of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara has the task of uniting a divided nation. His critics accuse him of presiding over a victor’s justice and letting off supporters of his who are suspected of crimes. Are they right?

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Video: Alassane Ouattara talks about the crisis in Mali

“Our objectives in Mali are to: stop the terrorist spread through Africa and […] restore the unity of Mali.”

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Alassane Ouattara at the 2012 World Policy Conference

Watch the interview of Alassane Ouattara at the 2012 World Policy Conference in Cannes.

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Creating political debate: the reason behind the dissolution of the government?

Marc-André Boisvert gives a good explanation of the recent political events in Cote d’Ivoire on his article in ThinkAfricaPress:

A local journalist proposed an interesting theory during the Ivory Coast’s week without government: a clash between the two coalition partners could have been a way for Ouattara to enforce the creation of an opposition. Laurent Gbabgo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), which was forcibly removed from power in 2011 after it rejected the election results, boycotted the last legislative elections leaving Ouattara’s government without opposition. Some saw this forced dissolution as a Machiavellian move to create a constructive opposition which has been badly lacking in Ivorian politics.

 I had a similar reaction after Ahoussou government’s termination: considering Ouattara cannot afford to lose the PDCI support now, was the move aimed at focusing the public debate on politics, as opposed to the post-conflict legal cases?

As the two formations are now getting all the attention, it looks like the FPI might be losing its momentum. Without a strong leader, I would be curious to see how the Front Populaire Ivoirien evolves.

Nonetheless, I am pleasantly surprised that for once, the controversial topic in Cote d’Ivoire does not involve ethnicity or conflict. Hopefully, the political debate and public attention can focus more on the economical and social issues that affect the Ivorian population every day.



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A conversation with Alassane Ouattara

Alassane Ouattara and Ernest Bai Koroma granted the Council Of Foreign relations an interesting conversation about post-conflict societies, external military intervention, reconciliation and national integration.

The fate of the pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara soldiers who violated human rights was of course discussed, but Ouattara did not give any indication about what his policy will be towards them. They just mentioned the challenge was to find the right balance between reconciliation, justice and equity.

They also discussed foreign intervention: France in Cote d’Ivoire and United Kingdom in Sierra Leone, as well as the role of the international organizations in the conflicts. That was the occasion for Ouattara to deplore the the fact that the African Union did not have the means to act militarily even though an international consensus was reached against Gbagbo.

So in my personal view, it’s clear that domestic problems should be taken care of by domestic forces.  But when there is imbalance — and this was the case in Cote d’Ivoire [there should be an external help].  At some point Gbagbo was using heavy weapons and killing citizens, of the population — up to 3,000 people were killed.  He had all type of sophisticated weapons imported from countries I would not name, but now we know them.  And this was a — dramatic.

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14 dead in West Cote d’Ivoire in militia attack in Nigré

Fourteen people, including ten civilians, have been on Thursday night in an attack from “militia” and “Liberian mercenaries” against the army in a village in south-western Côte d’Ivoire, said on Saturday a military source.
“In Nigré, a few miles from the Liberian border, militia members and Liberian mercenaries attacked our positions. They killed ten civilians and one soldier in the ranks of Republican Forces (FRCI, army). Three assailants were found dead, “he told AFP.
President Ouattara, Liberian counterpart Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other heads of state of West Africa, met on September 10th in Nigeria to intensify the surveillance of the border area.

This goes to show that security still is a major concern for both Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia, ahead of elections in both countries. To some extent, not only Ouattara and Sirleaf, but also Conde and Koroma will have to consider regional security as a priority. The outcome of Lybia’s war could also spill over these countries, as mercenaries and weapons from defeated Khadaffi forces will flow without control.

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