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Special Feature

Ivorian President Urges DOZOS to End Military Attacks

According to the New Dawn (“Ivory Coast Leader Urges End to Militia attacks, New Dawn, January 7, 2014), “speaking to Military leaders . . . (Ivorian President) Alassane Ouattara said he had asked the Defence and Interior Ministries to reach an agreement with the DOZOS to turn them away from regular armed forces”.

We believe that President Ouattara is on the proper and right track in the effort to resolve the domestic, home-grown discontent in his country rather than blame the people of Grand Gedeh County for offering place of refuge for thousands of Ivorians who, apparently, fled from the armed onslaught of the northern Dozos.

According to the New Dawn, the “DOZOS are traditional hunters linked to the Ivorian regime who killed and maimed hundreds of people . . . over the past four years with impunity . . . They come from the north of the Ivory Coast and fought in the rebellion that brought fellow northerner, (Alassane) Ouattara to power as president (of La Cote d’Ivoire) in 2011 elections that triggered violence killing 3,000 people. There are an estimated 50,000 Dozos in the country and in some regions, they act alongside Ivorian security forces . . . UN investigations have found that the Dozo hunters killed, at least, 228 people and used guns and blades to wound another 164 between March 2009 and 2013”.

In an article elsewhere, we held that If President Alassane Ouattara, now Chairman of ECOWAS, is serious (and we believe that He is) about Peace-Building, National/International Reconciliation, cooperation and collaboration, then the people of Grand Gedeh County say and ask that His Excellency engage the thousands of refugees from his country in our county, with guarantee of safe return.

Regarding the on-going, endless civil conflict in La Cote d’Ivoire, we held, also, that it is due to two, inevitable results (a), that nation’s deadly north-south, socio-cultural, religious, economic and political divide, rivalry, competition and (b), discontent, compounded, cumulatively, by the controversial results of the election that brought Mr. Alassane Ouattara to power as President of La Cote d’Ivoire (according to Ivorian Press and African Union reports). The Liberian people, indeed, the citizens of Grand Gedeh County were and are not involved and played or play no part.   We concluded that:

a) The election results placed exclusive leadership and control of a deeply-divided nation in the hands of a failed, 2002 rebellious leader (Alassane Ouattara) with awesome, reasonable responsibility, but questionable will-ability, to heal the wounds, unite the nation for the future of united a people, given the critical, objective conditions demanded before and, now demand, on the ground in La Cote d’Ivoire.

b) His Excellency, Alassane Ouattara is widely believed, or perceived, not to be Ivorian citizen, but a Burkinabe` who, it is also reported and widely believed, with Burkinabe` President, Blaise Compoare, to be responsible for the deadly, failed 2002 rebellion, and that with his (Ouattara’s) accession to power under these controversial conditions, would, inevitably, result in the take-over of Cote d’Ivoire by Burkinabe` foreigners.  

c) The seemingly endless, domestic conflict, with its resulting, deep-seated, cumulative discontent, compounded by the results of the controversial elections, is clearly a proven, home-grown phenomenon that requires specialized, political will-ability, enlightened and committed leadership for rational, peaceful resolution. Ignored or permitted to obtain, over time, the impact is likely to spill over to neighboring or distant countries, as it is now, invite or attract romantic “soldiers of fortune” for purely financial gain without personal and/or ideological considerations in these days of “conspicuous consumption”, instant travel of carefree, adventurous counter-culture.

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The Ivorian President’s reported meeting with the Defense and Interior Ministries and urging that they reach agreement with the hunters/fighters (the Dozos) to keep them away from regular, military activities, shows clear support for our conclusions.  The law-abiding majority of Grand Gedeh County population wants peaceful co-existence with their friends, relatives and others on the Ivorian side of the Cavalla River.

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