There has been chaos in Ivory Coast for the fourth day running, despite calls for calm by the president. Supporters of Laurent Gbagbo ignored his intervention and, once again, poured onto the streets of the main city, Abidjan.
The United Nations is the main target of their anger. It has nearly 7,000 peacekeepers in the war-divided country. The so-called Young Patriots want them to leave, protesting at what they call ‘foreign meddling’.
In Guiglo, 300km west of Abidjan, UN soldiers opened fire as their camp was stormed. At least four demonstrators were killed. On a lightning peace mission, the Nigerian president flew in for talks with his Ivorian counterpart.
In his role as African Union chairman, Olusegun Obasanjo addressed the issue that triggered the flare-up – a recommendation by UN-appointed mediators that the Ivorian parliament, dominated by Gbagbo loyalists, be dissolved. “The international working group has no power, no ability, no intention to interfere in the national sovereignty of Ivory Coast,” he said.
Former colonial power France is also a target of the protesters’ anger. It has 4,000 peacekeepers in Ivory Coast. The demonstrators want them out, too.
The latest violence threatens to derail a fragile ceasefire in the West African country that has been split in two since a failed coup attempt in 2002.