Ivory Coast new UN ambassador warns of genocide risk

By Nangayi Guyson – Mr Bamba, who was appointed by Mr Ouattara as ambassador to UN and formally welcomed at the its  New York headquarters on Wednesday, solidifying UN support for Mr Ouattara., has warned that the country is “on the brink of genocide”.

In a TV interview, Youssoufou Bamba said there had been large scale violation of human rights as a result of the ongoing political unrest.

Despite Alassane Ouattara, being internationally accepted as the presidential election winner,  Laurent Gbagbo is refusing to step down saying Mr Ouattara’s victory in November was illegitimate. Both of them have been sworn in as president.

At a press conference, Mr Bamba said Mr Ouattara had been elected in a “free, fair, transparent, democratic election”.

“To me the debate is over, now you are talking about how and when Mr Gbagbo will leave office,” he said.

The UN’s acceptance of Mr Bamba as ambassador solidifies its support for Mr Ouattara

Mr Bamba said Mr Ouattara’s main concern now was the “massive violation of human rights” in the past few weeks.

He said 172 people had been killed “only because they want to demonstrate, they want to speak out, they want to defend the will of the people”.

“We think it’s unacceptable. Thus, one of the messages I try to get across during the conversations I have conducted so far, is [that] we are on the brink of genocide.”

Mr Bamba said some houses had been marked according to the residents’ tribal background, and that he was concerned about what could happen next.

“Something should be done,” he said.

‘Final assault’

Mr Bamba said he hoped to meet with every member of the UN Security Council and “explain to them the gravity of the situation”.

“We expect the United Nations to be credible and the United Nations to prevent violation and to prevent the election to be stolen from the people,” he said.

In a news conference earlier on Wednesday, UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy launched an unprecedented attack on Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo-controlled state TV accusing it of inciting hatred against it.

“The declarations I hear on the RTI are concerning us and shocking us, because they clearly instigate the population to turn against ONUCI [UN mission in Ivory Coast],” he said.

He said an incident where a peacekeeper was wounded with a machete when his patrol was encircled by angry crowds was a “direct consequence of all the appeals to hatred, lies and anti-ONUCI propaganda”.

Despite international support, Mr Ouattara and his Prime Minister Guillaume Soro remain holed up in a hotel in the main city of Abidjan, protected by UN forces.

But Supporters of Mr Gbagbo, known as “young patriots”, have threatened to storm the hotel.

Young patriots leader Charles Ble Goude, who is also Mr Gbagbo’s youth minister, also warned Ecowas not to send troops.

“They should prepare themselves very well because we are thinking about totally liberating our country, and soon I will launch the final assault,” he said.

The leaders who were sent by regional bloc Ecowas, which had threatened in a statement to send in troops to force Mr Gbagbo to step down left the country without  reaching the final  deal with the two rivals.

Ecowas said the three men , presidents of Benin, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde  would return to the country on 3 January for more talks.