Over claims of sending assassins To Ghana
Ivorian President, Dramane Alassane Quattara, has reacted angrily at claims by officials of the United Nation (UN) that his regime has been sending mercenaries to Ghana to kill pro- Laurent Gbagbo’s living in Ghana.
He described the claim as ‘’despicable, it is irresponsible, it is a lie’’ in an interview conducted By French news chanell Rfi on December 4, 2013.
President Quattara revealed he has sent a complaint to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon over the matter which he said could mar a rather cordial relationship between his country and Ghana.
Below is the full interview granted by President Quattara and obtained by The Herald’s sources in Ivory Coast.
RFI : Good morning, Mr President
ADO : Morning
RFI : Why is France losing so many contracts in Africa ?
ADO : Yes, the competition has been tough, these days, globalization has allowed emerging markets to take interest, I think, in a very strong way, in the African continent. Perhaps the French companies have realized this a little too late, this is why this conference is a good thing to encourage French companies to get more involved in the globalization, the competition. Because they are quality companies, it is possible to take risks and have positive results.
RFI: At the l’Elysée Summit, tomorrow and the day after, you will try to advance the project of a rapid reaction force, but since 15 years one has been talking about it and nothing happens, why would it work better tomorrow then it couldn’t before ?
ADO : You mean rapid reaction force, the CARIC, recent crises; especially in Mali , we have demonstrated the utility to speed up things and from our point of view, this reaction should be more regionalized. This is what we did in Mali
RFI: At ECOWAS level?
ADO : At ECOWAS level, you saw that we all responded well, at ECOWAS level. France has come on time, but we had already planned our intervention. All this, of course, under the umbrella of the African Union. And, I am confident that this Conference of Paris will allow us to advance rapidly to the implementation of this structure, the Caric.
RFI : Is this not a way of saying that you are resigned to the idea that France will still, in 10 years, 15 years , continue to be playing the role of policeman in Africa?
ADO : Not at all, given that we are, ourselves, putting in place these rapid reaction forces , that is to say we want to take control of things ourselves. You know , we need to ensure that when there is a problem, in 24 hours, 48 hours, ECOWAS can react. This is more effective at regional level. At the continental level, I agree with you that it could be a bit more complicated, but we should get there eventually, at the continental level.
RFI: Last Friday, during a meeting in Bouake, you have rejected the idea of the General State of the Republic proposed by the FPI of Laurent Gbagbo. Are you not worried that this party may boycott the 2015 presidential elections?
ADO : Yes, but do you know that political parties are not compelled to participate in elections in Cote d’Ivoire? I hope that all Ivorian will participate. My own party boycotted the 2000 parliamentary elections, it was a bad idea. We stayed outside parliament for 11 years. I hope that the FPI will participate in the upcoming elections , it is in its own interest. They did not participate in the parliamentary elections , they did not participate in local elections, if they do not participate in the presidential elections, I doubt it would remain much in this party.
RFI: But if you do not want their General State of the Republic, are they not going to say that you do not want dialogue?
ADO : No, but you know, the dialogue takes place in a specific context. In Cote d’Ivoire we experience several meetings for reconciliation, there was so much that I do not remember their different terms. And it did nothing. Unfortunately, there was this conflict, we went to Marcoussis, Pretoria, there was the Ouagadougou Agreement and all that divided the Ivorian has been set with these meetings. Marcoussis , Pretoria, Ouagadougou Agreement, so it is no longer useful to ….hein … We must implement what we have decided together with the FPI during this period. When their president was the president of Cote d’Ivoire.
RFI : In a UN report , Ghana reported that commandos from Cote d’Ivoire tried to abduct even kill Ivorian opponents exiled on their territory ?
ADO : This is despicable, it is irresponsible, it is a lie .
RFI : From the UN or from Ghana?
ADO : From the Experts who wrote such things. And we made a complaint to Ban Ki Moon, we consider that such comments discredit the UN, especially this Sanction Committee and this may create difficulties in our relations with the Sanction Committees in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Liberia. I find it of an indescribable lightness.
RFI: And Ghana …. your opinion?
ADO : But of course, obviously since what they announced never existed .
RFI: There are two months during its Conference, the PDCI of Henry Konan Bédié, established the principle of a candidate of the party in 2015 , it is a good idea or not ? in your opinion .
ADO : It belongs to PDCI to make its own decision, I do not interfere in matters relating to decisions of political parties, including the RDR which I come from.
RFI: Despite your commitment to RHDP, the rally of RDR / RHDP ?
ADO : Absolutely. I am very attached to RHDP, I am a former member of PDCI , I was President of the RDR, I had excellent relations with President Robert Guei UDPCI, so it is a gathering of people who have the same philosophy and work together within the framework of a government that deliver results for Cote d’Ivoire, to Ivorian and I think it is a chance that we continue this work together.
RFI: So you prefer a single candidacy for RHDP ?
ADO : If RHDP makes such decisions, I will be very happy.
RFI : You prefer this solution to the solution for a candidature from PDCI ?
ADO : But, I do not have to comment on the views of one and other, but I would be very happy for a unique RHDP candidature to support the action of the current government working under my authority .
RFI : Mr President, thank you.
About a week ago, international media reports claimed that Ivory Coast president sent hit squads to Ghana to kill followers of former strongman Laurent Gbagbo and paid Liberian mercenaries not to stage cross-border attacks for Gbagbo, a UN report said.
The Ghana government told UN sanctions experts they had “foiled” at least two missions this year by Ivory Coast agents to kill or abduct Gbagbo associates, said the report obtained by AFP on Sunday.
“The Ghanaian authorities claimed to have foiled at least two such missions in early 2013,” said the report.
At least one former Gbagbo supporter, who had returned to Ivory Coast, “had been abducted and had disappeared,” it added.
Payments were made to Liberian mercenaries and Ivory Coast militia commanders in a bid to head off attacks aimed at destabilising President Alassane Ouattara’s government.
The report to the Security Council, by experts who monitor UN sanctions against Liberia, cast new light on efforts by Ouattara’s government to blunt the threat from Gbagbo, whose refusal to concede defeat in a 2010 presidential election sparked unrest in which thousands died.
Gbagbo is now at the International Criminal Court in The Hague facing charges of crimes against humanity. But several cross-border attacks were staged from Liberia in 2012 and the UN mission in Ivory Coast has said several times that new incidents are possible.
The Ghanaian government told the UN experts in July that its neighbour had been sending Ivorian agents intending to assassinate or kidnap militant pro-Gbagbo refugees.
The experts said they had been unable to “independently verify” the claims.
But they met several former Gbagbo ministers in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, who said they wanted to return “but were afraid that they would be killed if they succeeded.”
Gbagbo refused to accept the result of the presidential election in late 2010. At least 3,000 people died in five months of unrest before he was captured in an operation backed by UN and French forces.
Ivory Coast was gripped by civil war for much of the previous two decades. Ouattara has embarked on reconciliation efforts but has been urged to move faster and to clamp down on corruption.
The UN experts said they had “gathered substantive information” concerning payments made from May this year by the Ivory Coast government to “key Liberian mercenaries.”
Two of the mercenary leaders were identified as Isaac Chegbo, who is also known as “Bob Marley” and Augustine “Bush Dog” Vleyee.
Money was paid for “collecting information from these individuals and discouraging them from conducting cross-border attacks,” said the report.
It said the payments were made by the Ivory Coast interior ministry’s bureau of operational intelligence.
The mercenaries told the UN sanctions experts they were taken to Abidjan to receive money. One said he was given $8,000 but others said they got as little as $2,000.
“Several of the mercenaries who had received such payments complained that they had been promised substantially more money,” the report said.
The mercenaries “alleged that additional financing had been misappropriated by Ivorian officials” and the Liberian intermediary.
The UN report said that while attacks had diminished this year, the payments were not a “sustainable” way of keeping the lid on tensions in the country.
It also said Ivory Coast had failed to tell Liberian counterparts about the payments or other moves to sway Gbabgo followers in Liberia.
An Ivory Coast mission accompanied by a UN official from Abidjan that went to a refugee camp in Liberia in May was briefly detained by Liberian authorities who had not been warned in advance, said the report.