This isn’t shaping up to be a great weekend for Cote D’Ivoire. UNHCR is reporting that over 20,000 refugees fled one neighborhood of Abidjan this morning because of clashes between armed groups. A US government official reported in a blog post from Saclepea that there were already 35,000 Ivorian refugees in Liberia. BBC is now reporting that in past 24 hours alone 5,000 people have crossed into the border region of Nimba county, several hours drive from Saclepea. The report suggests that people are fleeing because forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara took a town called Zouan-Hounien last night, and that a militia called “The Front for the Liberation of the Greater West Militia” will soon be launching a counter-attack.
The deadlock over the Ivorian election had been maddening to watch over the past two and half months. Despite being the victims of politically motivated violence, several refugees I spoke with in December stated that they didn’t care who was President, they just wanted one person clearly in charge. It makes the situation, if possible, even more heartbreaking.