Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

Africa

Ivory Coast paralysed as civil servants stay home

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-18

One week after bitter fighting ended with the arrest of former president Laurent Gbagbo, government buildings remained largely unmanned on Monday as civil servants were slow to heed President Alassane Ouattara's orders to resume work.

AFP - Few civil servants heeded an appeal from Ivory Coast's new government to return to work Monday, leaving the organs of state still paralysed a week after the fall of strongman Laurent Gbagbo.

New President Alassane Ouattara's minister for civil servants was himself late for work, while elsewhere in main city Abidjan government employees complained of looted office equipment and rotting bodies in the street.

Ouattara, a former International Monetary Fund official and long-time opposition figure, took charge on April 11 of the world's top cocoa grower when his forces stormed the presidential palace in Abidjan and seized Gbagbo.

At around 9:00 am (0900 GMT) Monday, a few people waited in front of the Post and Telecommunications building which remained closed despite Ouattara's call for civil servants to "imperatively" get back to work from 7:30 am.

"I've just got to work, the convoy was delayed," said Civil Service Minister Konan Gnamien, who arrived at his ministry at around 9:30 am from the Golf Hotel that has been his government's headquarters since late November.

A civil servant at the parliament said that when he arrived at work "there was a decomposing body" at the building's entrance.

"Looters have stolen all the computers, they've turned everything upside down," the worker said, asking not to be named. "I don't know if we'll be able to get back to work for two or three months."

Nevertheless, taxis and public buses filled with people could be seen travelling around the central Plateau business district that is also home to the presidential palace and government offices.

The area saw some of the fiercest fighting during 10 days of clashes between the rival presidents' forces ahead of Gbagbo's dramatic arrest in an operation backed by French and UN forces.

Troops from Ouattara's Republican Forces (FRCI) set up checkpoints at some crossroads, searching cars, an AFP journalist reported, with a few gunshots still heard Monday morning as FRCI troops sought to scare off looters.

Gbagbo -- who spent a decade in power -- had refused to accept defeat in November's presidential vote, provoking a violent stand-off even though the UN and the bulk of the international community had recognised Ouattara's victory.

The ex-president is under house arrest in the north of the country while former rebel fighters loyal to Ouattara patrol Abidjan along with UN peacekeepers and a force from former colonial master France.

Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front party said over the weekend it had noted the order for the state machinery to start functioning again, and urged an "end to the war" and the "increase in violence".

The country's largest student union also called on its members to disarm and heed Ouattara's reconciliation call.

Despite the peace calls, scenes of retribution were abundant at the weekend in Abidjan, a seaside port city known as the pearl of west Africa in its heyday.

Four youths were paraded in its teeming Yopougon quarter, a Gbagbo bastion, and accused of burning people alive. They were to be handed over to police.

Gbagbo's former foreign minister Alcide Djedje said he was being held in the town of Korhogo, which is seen as an Ouattara stronghold.

The disgraced leader's wife Simone, a firebrand politician, was meanwhile still in detention in Abidjan's luxury Golf Hotel which had served as a base for Ouattara during the long standoff, Djedje said.

Ouattara's government said about 70 people arrested with Gbagbo, including family members and house staff, were freed on Saturday.

Of the approximately 120 people detained with him, 30 members of his family, including his grandchildren, were released and taken to "a destination we are keeping confidential", Ouattara's justice minister said.

Another 38 people, mainly house staff including cooks and gardeners, were also released and "each has gone home", he said.
 

Date created : 2011-04-18

  • IVORY COAST

    Ivory Coast to probe Gbagbo regime

    Read more

  • IVORY COAST

    Gbagbo camp calls on supporters to 'end the war'

    Read more

  • IVORY COAST

    Stockpiles of arms across Abidjan threaten peace

    Read more

COMMENT(S)