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Côte d'Ivoire: Ivorian Internet Users Fear a New Era of Terror in Abidjan

This post is part of our special coverage Côte d'Ivoire Unrest 2011.

Since Thursday December 16th, the day Alassane Ouattara called for his partisans to march onto the national television RTI building, scenes of civil war have taken place in Côte d'Ivoire. According to the UN, 50 people died and 200 were wounded these last days. Although images of violences are rare in the traditional media because of of the censorship of dissident medias in Abidjan, some videos were shared on the Internet. The following video shows demonstrators being attacked by militaries during which at least one person was killed.

According to local eye-witnesses, the next video  shows Ouattara's partisans on their way to the Hôtel du Golf last Thursday, in the Riviera district of Abidjan.

Another Internet user posted series of videos where we can see a person dying after he was beaten up by armed forces.

This weekend the anti-UN and anti-Sarkozy rhetoric reached a new high when Gbagbo's Government asked for foreign forces to leave the country.

Saturday December 18h in Yopougon, the Minister of Youth, and chief of Gbagbo's Forces of Defense and Security (FDS) young Militiamen, Charles Blé Goudé, adressed the crowd with a radical speech against foreign forces, inviting partisans to get ready to sacrifice their lives for the cause :

“Sarkozy et l'ONU préparent un génocide en Côte d'Ivoire”

Sarkozy and the UN are preparing a genocide in Côte d'Ivoire

“L'ONU a un mandat souterrain, ils veulent enlever Gbagbo du pouvoir (…) Vous allez devoir en tuer beaucoup. “

“The UN has an unspoken motive, they want to remove Gbagbo from power (…) You may have to kill many of us.”

The meeting was broadcasted on the Ivorian Radio Television (RTI), the national TV channel, and the commentator says at the end :

“Les patriotes sont prêts à faire le sacrifice ultime”

“Patriots are ready to make the ultimate sacrifice.”

The situation in Abidjan is getting worse. R., an Ivorian Internet user interviewed via instant messaging, explains under the cover of anonymity :

“Des vidéos des violences existent, mais sur twitter on ne peut pas en parler parce que les menaces sont de plus en plus directes”

“Videos of violences exist, but on Twitter we can't talk about it anymore because threats are becoming more personal”

Many ivorian Internet users who were really active on the hashtag #civ2010 don't tweet anymore. Some are threatened :

“@Sanders225 jespère que vous qui tweetez a partir de votre pc vous avez installé des logiciels pour cacher votre ip #civ2010

@Sanders225 To those who tweet from their computers I hope you have installed softwares to hide your IP adress #civ2010

R. also denounces the tattling atmosphere that prevails now in the country against those who dare share pieces of information with the rest of the world :

“on est revenu à l'ere de la gestapo avec exécutions publiques”

“We are back to the Gestapo era with public sentencing”

Many Internet users mention the presence of Death Squads who don't hesitate to act after the curfew in districts where Ouattara's partisans live. Like @Sanders225 explains:

“Every single day, innocent people are killed during night time curfew in Ivory Cost. Death squads are back. #help#civ2010

A rumor widely spread and relayed in Abidjan and on Twitter, reports the presence of Liberian mercenaries hired to back up Gbagbo's FDS: @Kanateecs informs that night exactions are perpetrated by those mercenaries :

“Abobo, koumassi, anyama yopougon, ces communes ou les gens ne dorment plus de peur d'etre tuer dans leur sommeil par les liberiens #civ2010

“Abobo, koumassi, anyama yopougon, those districts where people don't sleep anymore fearing to be killed like animals by Liberian milicia http://twitter.com/#!/search/civ2010″

This post is part of our special coverage Côte d'Ivoire Unrest 2011.

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