Ivory Coast: Warlords Don't Want Change


November 2, 2005: Cocoa production has kept going in the Moslem north, but it is lower because of the higher costs of production. Many bribes must be paid to soldiers and warlords, in order for the crop to be moved south, into the Christian south. The warlords are enjoying all this wealth, and are reluctant to give it up without some kind of "compensation." Thus neither president Gbagbo, nor the northern rebels, have any real incentive to change the current situation.

October 30, 2005: In the capital, and elsewhere in the country, thousands of protestors demonstrated against the lack of elections and president Laurent Gbagbo extending his rule one year.

October 28, 2005: NGOs have begun a major media campaign protesting the governments hiring of Liberians for the army. The main NGO complaint is that many of the Liberians hired are teenagers. Of course, teenagers have served in local military organizations for thousands of years, but the NGOs use the "child soldier" angle to bring attention to themselves, and to assist in fund raising. The government is hiring Liberians (including many who have been living in Ivory Coast for many years) because they are considered more loyal to president Gbagbo.

October 24, 2005: President Laurent Gbagbo's term of office has expired, new elections were not held (because he and the rebels could not agree on the details), and Gbagbo insists that he can legally stay in office. The rebels, and many other Ivorians, disagree.


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