Liberian Government Distances Itself From Violence in Ivory Coast
MONROVIA – The Government of Liberia has distanced itself the violence taking place in neighboring Cote D’Ivoire ahead of Saturday’s polls.
The situation has already led a few thousands of lvoirians to seek refuge in Liberia and other neighboring countries, evoking memories of the 2010 electoral violence in that country.
“The Liberian Government says it firmly backs regional and international efforts aimed at finding a lasting solution to the political situation, and will do nothing to undermine the security of a friendly neighbor – as has been insinuated on social media,” the Ministry of Information statement indicated.
The government’s clarification comes in the wake of allegation on Facebook against Mr. Bamba Ousmane, one of the Advisors to President Weah, being involved with trooping mercenaries to the Ivory Coast.
He is accused of being escorted by eight Liberians with seven brand new vehicles under the guise of being a Soro Guillame envoy.
But the Liberia government said the allegation is meant to serve as a distraction, noting that President Weah has cordial relationship with all the major Ivorian political actors – including the opposition and ruling party. He said Liberia has absolutely no involvement in the political affairs of Cote D’Ivoire.
At the same time, the Liberian government reminded all lvoirians of the consequences of resorting to violence as a means of resolving their differences.
But dozens have died in street clashes ahead of Ivory Coast’s vote Saturday, and President Alassane Ouattara’s top rivals are urging their supporters to boycott the polls, plunging the West African nation into turmoil.
“For us, there will be no election,” said Pascal Affi N’Guessan, a former prime minister and spokesman for the opposition. “An election must be fair. This is not the case.”
Ouattara, 78, is seeking a hotly contested third term, asserting he was forced into the race after his chosen successor, the prime minister, died in July of a heart attack.
Analysts say the contest poses the biggest threat to Ivory Coast’s stability since a disputed election in 2010 burst into a civil war that claimed roughly 3,000 lives.
Election officials said there were reports of disruptions keeping voters from polling sites in at least seven of the country’s 31 provinces. In the eastern town of Daoukro, roadblocks were set up by the opposition to block voters, police said.
Indigo Côte d’Ivoire, an independent election observer, said 21 percent of polling stations had not opened and at least two monitors from the group were attacked.
Tensions are rising at a delicate moment for the region, which is struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic’s economic blows as unrest deepens in several countries.
Violence gripped neighboring Guinea this month as President Alpha Condé sought and secured an equally controversially third term — and protests against police brutality continue to rock Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country and biggest economy.