Reports are surfacing that the violence that erupted while recently installed Ivory Coast President Alessane Ouattara was trying to take control of government following a disputed election is worsening, with claims of Ivorians who are loyal to ousted president Laurent Gbagbo being murdered.
This time the reports have an added detail: The executions and house burnings are being done under the knowledge and possible consent of Ouattara, according to reports.
Amnesty International Ivory Coast specialist Salvatore Sagues says Ouattara is indeed behind his supporter’s human rights violations.
“These arrests and these targetings have been committed by the security forces who are under the command of Mr. Alessane Ouattara executively,” Sagues declared.
Sagues said Ouattara is responsible for the actions of his forces and that responsibility requires Ouattara to order the aggression to stop.
“What we are asking Mr. Ouattara is to reissue orders to his security forces to stop violating human rights and to respect human rights standards,” Sagues stated.
Listen to the interview with Salvatore Sagues:
The charges of human rights violations and human rights abuses are becoming more numerous.
Reuters reported that United Nations Operation in the Ivory Coast (UNOCI) Human Rights Officer Guillaume Ngefa says forces loyal to Ouattara were carrying out executions and torture. Eight people were shot in one recent attack.
This report was made public only days after Amnesty International reported that Gbagbo’s supporters were being arrested and held without charges.
Ngefa confirmed the authenticity of the reports, telling WND, “Yes, that is correct.”
Ivorian refugee Emmanuel Yochette says he fled to Ghana for safety and believes that Gbagbo’s supporters have a reason to fear.
“Especially in the west in the Ivory Coast. They have paid a very big price in this crisis. People who follow Gbagbo, people were going to their houses and hitting them and kicking them,” Yochette related.
“Even men of God, even men of God. They attacked the men of God who were praying. At first they were saying that people who support Gbagbo have to be eliminated,” Yochette stated.
Sagues points out that since the original report was issued, several of those arrested have been released.
“Since the publication of our report, several things have changed. Seventeen of them have been released and 15 of them have been charged,” Sagues explained.
“There are still people who have been held for three months without charge. What is more worrying is that these people have no access to the outside world,” Sagues said.
“There is no real access to lawyers, no access to their relatives, and no access for other services,” Sagues continued.
He’s also concerned for the safety of those being held.
“We are very worried about the prison conditions of some of them,” Sagues said.
Sagues was unable to disclose the charges that have been filed against the former Gbagbo supporters and soldiers. Yet, the arrest of former Gbagbo supporters is only part of the picture.
“Besides these arbitrary arrests, there are cases of people being targeted in the western part of the country who are members of ethnic groups that are suspected of being supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo,” Sagues stated.
“This is very worrisome because we have tens of thousands of displaced people who don’t dare to return home because they are being threatened or because their house has been burned or occupied by other people,” Sagues noted.
Sagues believes that the situation may change because of Ouattara’s request for an investigation by the International Criminal Court.
“We have heard that Mr. Ouattara has asked the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into what has happened in the Cote d’Ivoire (the French translation of the country name) for the last six months. So, we are welcoming this willingness to cooperate,” Sagues said.
However, Sagues’ optimism is tempered by reality.
“On the other hand, we have not yet heard a strong condemnation of the violations committed by Mr. Ouattara’s forces by himself,” Sagues commented.
However, Yochette believes there is another reason the situation in the Ivory Coast will “settle down.”
“Things are calming down with Gbagbo supporters. Most of them have run away from the country actually. They have run away into Ghana,” Yochette stated.
The Ivory Coast violence developed when Gbagbo and Ouattara both ran for the presidency, previously held by Gbagbo. Ouattara appeared to win, but a constitutional committee in the nation declared there had been voter fraud – and gave the victory to Gbagbo. Then the U.N., France and the U.S. stepped in and demanded that Ouattara be given power.
Ministries that operate in Africa also are reporting Muslim-on-Christian violence in Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt and others.
International Christian Concern’s Nigeria specialist Jonathan Racho earlier documented such attacks in Nigeria.
He said 17 Christians were killed in one attack. He said the death toll in Nigeria – since Muslims started a terror rampage on the election to a second term of Christian President Goodluck Jonathan – has topped 600.
WND recently has reported that Egyptian Christians also say they are under siege now, following the Muslim Brotherhood’s integration into power.
Reports document attacks by armed gangs on about 60 Coptic Christians during a protest at a national television headquarters and suggest that the Egyptian army has been part of the aggression.
Christians have been demanding without success that the government prosecute the perpetrators of the attack and the burning of the Mar Mina church in the Cairo neighborhood of Imbabba on May 8.
A dozen people were killed and more than 200 were injured there.
Egyptian human rights activist and journalist Wagih Yacoub was an eyewitness to the violence and describes the assault on Christians as an ambush.
“The army left. They were not there and they did nothing after the attacks. Other criminals came and attacked the Christians. We asked for the rescue and the army came after a few hours,” Yacoub related.
Sen. Barack Obama with Raila Odinga
In Kenya, President Obama campaigned for the Muslim challenger, Raila Odinga, while Obama was a U.S. senator.
Appearing with Odinga at campaign stops, Obama gave speeches accusing the sitting Kenyan president of being corrupt and oppressive.
But Odinga lost, despite attracting Muslim votes through a secret Memorandum of Understanding with Muslim Sheik Abdullah Abdi, the chief of the National Muslim Leaders Forum of Kenya. In the memo, Odinga promised to rewrite the Kenyan constitution to install Shariah as law in “Muslim declared regions,” elevate Islam as “the only true religion” and give Islamic leaders “oversight” over other religions, establish Shariah courts and ban Christian proselytism.
After his loss, Odinga accused the incumbent president of rigging the vote and allegedly incited his supporters to riot. Over the next month, some 1,500 Kenyans were killed and more than 500,000 displaced – with most of the violence led by Muslims, who set churches ablaze and hacked Christians to death with machetes.
Odinga eventually ended up as prime minister in Kenya through a power-sharing arrangement that was enacted in an effort to appease the rioters.