News24

Ivory Coast attacks Gbagbo's 'last jolts'

2012-06-20 10:15

Washington - Attacks by partisans of former president Laurent Gbagbo are the "last jolts" of the former regime and will not destabilise the Ivory Coast, the country's prime minister said on Tuesday.

Remnants of the Gbagbo camp "continues to organise attacks" along the Ivory Coast's western border with Liberia, but they "cannot destabilise the country," Prime Minister Jeannot Ahoussou-Koudio said at a press conference.

"These are the last jolts of Laurent Gbagbo's bloody regime, and this cannot undermine a reconciliation," said the prime minister, who confirmed that he met on July 13 with representatives of Gbagbo's party, Front Populaire Ivoirien.

Ahoussou-Koudio acknowledged, however, that the violence near the Liberian border "is perturbing", and said the country would work with the UN to maintain peace.

The prime minister said that despite the ongoing political unrest and fatalities, the Ivory Coast plans to achieve a 6% growth in GDP by the end of 2012, compared to a 4% contraction last year.

"The war against famine and for the creation of wealth is at the centre of the government's programme," he added, citing the application of funds from the US' Millennium Challenge Corporation, which has contributed funds to the country's development.

Still, there is reason to believe that the dispute at the Liberian border is costing the West African nation a great deal in human capital.

One of the attacks along the Western African nation's border with Liberia killed eight civilians and seven UN peacekeepers earlier this month, and some 12 000 locals were displaced by unrest caused by the Gbagbo forces, reportedly based in Liberia, according to the UN.

Gbagbo is charged by the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity committed during the post-electoral chaos of 2010-2011 and was imprisoned at the Hague. Some reports have raised the possibility that the court will grant Gbagbo conditional release.

"We have no objection (to Gbagbo's potential release) but we maintain that Gbagbo was at the head of illegal forces that committed crimes," said Ahoussou-Koudio.