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Sunday, 17 April 2011

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Ivory Coast life begins to recover

ABIDJAN, April 16, AFP

Ivory Coast’s slow recovery after four months of bloodshed gained pace on Saturday as Alassane Ouattara’s victorious regime restarted schooling, cocoa exports and its newspaper.

The mouthpiece of the West African state’s new rulers, TCI television, said classes would resume on April 26 and traders have begun to shift a 400,000 tonne backlog of cocoa that built up during the conflict.

In peacetime, Ivory Coast was the world’s largest exporter of cocoa and income from the crop will be key as Ouattara rebuilds the economy and state institutions after a near civil war that left more than 900 people dead.

The former IMF official and long-time opposition figure took charge of the country on Monday, when his forces stormed the presidential palace in Abidjan and seized strongman Laurent Gbagbo and his close family.

Gbagbo had refused to accept defeat in November’s presidential election, provoking a violent stand-off despite UN observers and the bulk of the international community recognising Ouattara’s victory.

Now, the former president is under house arrest in the north of the country and former rebel fighters loyal to Ouattara are patrolling Abidjan along with UN peacekeepers and a force from former colonial master France.

In New York, the United Nations peacekeeping chief on Friday denied that UN troops were used to achieve regime change in Ivory Coast, while saying forces loyal to Ouattara may have taken advantage of the helicopter strikes by UN and French forces, which had no other choice.

“The trigger for the intervention was the fact that these heavy weapons were used repeatedly by the Gbagbo forces against the civilian population, against us and against President Ouattara,” Alain Le Roy told a press conference.

 

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