News reports of the ongoing crisis in Cote D’Ivoire remain thin. In the past days, the focus has been on three military helicopters from Belarus delivered to the Central Ivorian town of Yamoussoukro. Apparently when the UN officials tried to verify the presence of the helicopters at the airport, but they were unable to do so. As a result, diplomats in New York had to tone down the accusations that Belarus had indeed violated the arms embargo.
In Liberia, there are reports (mostly from twitter) that up to 70,000 people have now fled the political violence. Perhaps the biggest development is the increasing number of refugees in Zwedru, in the south-eastern County of Grand Geddeh, an area where many residents initially reported favoring of Gbabgo during the elections in November. Reports from Northern Cote D’Ivoire suggest that electricity and water are totally shut off.
I wonder about the back story behind Belarus’ military support of Gbagbo, if indeed it is taking place. Will the embargo actually do anything to protect civilians, especially if Gbagbo continues to make it extremely difficult for UN staff to operate in Cote D’Ivoire? It is hard not to be cynical.