- Ivory Coast - weapons
Stockpiles of arms across Abidjan threaten peace
Kalashnikovs, M16s and mortar shells are just some of the weapons that now litter the city of Abidjan after the brutal battle between supporters of Gbagbo and Ouattara. Clearing the streets of these weapons is now vital if peace is to be secured.
While the violence has subsided, the number of weapons in the Abidjan continues to represent a major challenge for the forces now charged with maintaining order.
Since Friday, joint patrols that include tanks of the French “Operation Licorne” and pick-up trucks of the pro-Ouattara Republican Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (FRCI) have been combing the different neighbourhoods of Abidjan. The success of their mission hinges entirely on their ability to seize the numerous weapon stockpiles scattered all over this bustling city.
The arms were originally handed out by Charles Ble Goude, the leader of the pro-Gbagbo militia known as the Young Patriots, when he called on supporters of the ousted president to enlist in the army.
Many of the guns are now in the hands of those taking advantage of the power vacuum and instability to loot, rob and ransack the city