Note:One in Four's content is accessible to all versions of every browser. However, this browser may not support basic Web standards, preventing the display of our site's design details. We support the mission of the Web Standards Project in the campaign encouraging users to upgrade their browsers.

 
 

Dozens of women raped 'to avenge French meddling'

Irish Independent

SEVERAL dozen white women have been raped in the Ivory Coast over the past week, as anti-European feelings in the country run high.

The French military said yesterday that men from the Young Patriots movement, loyal to the Ivory Coast's president Laurent Gbagbo, had attacked the women in retaliation for what they felt to be unjust French interference in their country's internal affairs.    From the Ivory Coast, French general Henri Poncet said: "There have been rapes. There were . . . tragedies for a certain number of women."

At least 10 women, one in her sixties, have filed charged of rape. Two French women and one other European national who are known to have been raped, have been evacuated.   Other French nationals had been attacked with machetes and stones as the country exploded into violence nine days ago.  The rioters went on to target all white expatriates but so far, no foreigners have been killed in the violence that has left at least 160 people dead.

Most foreign governments have now asked their citizens to leave the country. The violence began when the government launched an offensive on rebel-held areas in the north of the country, ending an 18-month-old ceasefire between the two sides.

Nine French peacekeepers were killed in the raids, and the French retaliated by grounding the country's airforce and sending in extra crack French troops to supplement the thousands of French peacekeepers already stationed there. Pro-government rioters immediately began attacking French homes and businesses in the capital, Abidjan, convinced that France wants to oust President Gbagbo.

Eyewitnesses in Abidjan say the French opened fire on protestors, but France insists that the crowds began shooting first.   French troops say they only opened fire in self-defence.   The Ivorian minister of justice has said France should be tried at the International Court of Justice for its actions.

The riots grew more intense after over 4,000 inmates from the country's most secure prison escaped through the sewers and made their way to the country's capital, Abidjan.

Normal transport from country's airport and ports have been suspended, although electricity and phone lines have begun functioning again after having been shut down for a few days.

The African Union has asked leaders from the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal and Libya to meet for talks on Sunday to resolve the crisis, but the rebels say they will not enter any negotiations until President Gbagbo has been removed.

 
 

Contact information

Run for and by people who have experienced sexual abuse.