Côte d'Ivoire: Situation gradually improves, challenges remain

1 May, 2011
Women who fled the western Ivoirian town of Duékoué. April 2011. Credit: IRIN/Nancy Palus
Women who fled the western Ivoirian town of Duékoué. April 2011. Credit: IRIN/Nancy Palus

The global security situation in Côte d'Ivoire is gradually improving despite persistent pockets of instability due to the presence of militia in the regions of Montagnes and Moyen Cavally as well as in Abidjan. Following the call of the President for the laying down weapons by militia, fighting occurred on 27 April between the army and militia in the Abidjan neighbourhood of Abobo. A leading militia commander, Ibrahima Coulibaly, died during the combat.

On 28 April, the payment of the salaries of civil servants resumed in Abidjan, following the reopening of banks on 26 April 2011. Payments will be made gradually in other parts of the country in the next few days according to the authorities. This will strengthen workers’ purchasing power and facilitate access to essential commodities.

Sporadic movement of Ivorian refugees back from Liberia is ongoing. The perception of improved conditions in the west is resulting in the gradual return of Ivorian refugees. This will increase, to some extent, the current IDP caseload estimated at 150,000 persons since refugees may not immediately return to their place of origin.

In the light of the overcrowding at the Catholic Mission in Duékoué, presently home to around 25,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), on a four-hectare piece of land, which is just over 1,5 square meters per person, work on improving living conditions will commence within 2-3 days. The mission’s pastor has offered a plot of land nearby to temporarily reduce the human concentration at the site. Other land may soon be available enabling the relocation of IDPs to a site that complies more fully with agreed standards

A recent report issued by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) decries the alarming increase in the number of women and girls being sexually assaulted, beaten and harassed by armed men either in their homes or as they flee to safety. This situation in the west, which IRC states is under reported, emphasises once more the need to enhance the protection of the civilian population.

More>> OCHA Situation Report #3