Yes, they were invited in by the government. What's happening is that, in common with
most of the countries in West Africa (notably Nigeria, but also Benin, Togo, Ghana )
Cote d'Ivoire (aka Ivory Coast) is
comprised of five geographic regions: a coastal region, often deltas of rivers, like
southern Louisiana, then, to the north, equatorial rainforest, then, north of that
savannah (tall grass areas with
groves of trees), then drylands with scrub brush, then finally, in some countries,
desert or semi-desert. Culturally speaking, the further north you go the more Moslems
there are. Bouaké, the main city in
northern Cote d'Ivoire is in an area with a lot of Muslims, and fundamentalists there
are trying to foment a secessionist revolt. The legal, or recognized, government,
based in Yamoussoukro (an artificial
capital like Ottawa, Canberra and Ajuba -- the biggest city is Abidjan, on the coast),
officially asked for French and US help. The US evacuated its citizens and the French
evacuated French and Canadians
(2 of them, students at a missionary school there, are from Spruce Grove, in fact)
ObLDS: there are 2 branches of the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Mission in Bouaké:
For the south of the country, where most LDS live, see:
http://www.gatheringofisrael.com/atlas/africa/west/CI_abidjan.gif (you can see even
from this type of schematic map that the area is very much like
the bayous of southern Louisiana, incidentally). The map has a bit of a mess-up with
the list of wards in Abidjan city itself but you'll be able to see what's meant.
For an overview of the whole country, to put the former two maps into context, see:
Bouaké is in savannah country but not far from the Moslem area of semi-desert to the
Unfortunately the government's main concern is only secondarily for the well-being of
foreign nationals -- it's to get them out of the way so they can use whatever measures
necessary to put down the
revolution, and "whatever measures necessary" in Africa is code for brutality.
As to media coverage, I don't watch TV news, but I know it was on CBC Radio One, and
we both know how you can find out if it was on CHED, and in the Edmonton Journal.
Unfortunately neither one has decent
archives, but here are the references to the coverage in the two national papers:
Best overall coverage of what actually happened:
Good background, including a theory that it was neighbouring (and Islamic) Burkina
Faso that caused the latest rebellion:
Note in this background article that Côte d'Ivoire was formerly a French colony. In
fact it was part of what was known as French Equatorial Africa, which was a regional
common market based on the CFA Franc
(Communauté des francs afriques). The first post-independence leader, Félix
Houphouët-Boigny (to pick a slight nit with the way the G&M spelled his name --
there's a diaresis over the e in his last name),
was quite a character. The French, following the usual colonial mercantilist model,
had converted Côte d'Ivoire from a subsistence economy into a cash commodity economy,
largely based on cocoa beans. With
high cocoa prices, Abidjan became known as the Paris of Africa (it's one place I never
visited but always wanted to -- I was told it was as wealthy as Johannesburg).
Houphouët-Boigny was very francophile
and tried to make Cote d'Ivoire a Little France. That's why it's officially known as
Côte d'Ivoire (both the CIA fact book, the US State Dept and Foreign Affairs Canada
refer to it that way instead of
Ivory Coast, its traditional English name). He also decided to move the capital away
from Abidjan -- as Nigeria had moved their capital away from Lagos -- into the
interior, so as to be more central. He
picked his own home town (no bias there!), Yamoussoukro, a tiny backwater, and
actually started building a Catholic basilica which was to be on the same basic
pattern as St. Peter's in the Vatican, only
larger -- it was to be the largest Catholic church in the world. I don't believe it
was ever finished.
Anyway, Houphouët-Boigny let/asked the French to guarantee their defence, so that's
why the French intervened. It was quite legal under Ivoirean law and very welcome by
the existing government in Yam'o.
There were 3 articles in the National Post, including one on the family from Spruce
(ignore the other 7 articles -- the
search engine looks for "ivory" and "coast" separately.
The second story tells more about the French role:
More on the French and US role:
What I haven't seen is any specific discussion of why the US intervened, but I'm
assuming it was to evacuate its nationals, which is permitted under international law.
In fact, the US State Dept thanked
France for evacuating people out of rebel-held territory to Yam'o, where a company of
US special forces were waiting to evacuate US nationals and other westerners out of
Yam'o and, if necessary, Abidjan.
But it doesn't look like Abidjan is in any danger.
Mark Gregson wrote:
> How is it okay for France and the United States to send troops into the Ivory Coast?
> Did the government of the Ivory Coast invite them? If so, I've never heard it
>discussed on any news report. Marc?
> ========= Mark Gregson [EMAIL PROTECTED] =========
Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland
"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling
short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."
Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author solely;
its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer, nor those of
any organization with which the
author may be associated.
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