ONUCI, the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast, will be officially disbanded by April next year after 12 years of ‘pacifying’ the country.
Their number, which includes elements of international police, is believed to be about 6 000.
The UN Security Council made the decision this week, after the realities on the ground have shown that the West African nation was on the right track following years of instability.
The remaining sanctions on Ivory Coast, including an arms embargo as well as travel bans and asset freezes on several individuals, have also been lifted, the New York-based institution said.
France’s ambassador to the UN, Francois Delattre, said after the unanimous Thursday vote that the international mission had been ‘a success story’. He said the end of the UN peacekeeping mission and lifting of sanctions showed “the amazing path taken by Ivory Coast on the way to peace, reconciliation and security”.
Ivory Coast descended into a spiral of violence and political instability after a failed 2002 coup d’etat. Fighting between the rebel-controlled north and government in the south left thousands dead before a ceasefire was agreed in May 2003.
Another episode of violence and xenophobia gripped the country in 2010-2011 after former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept his defeat at the hands of current President Alhassane Ouattara.
Gbagbo and his wife Simone – the alleged mastermind of the country’s post-electoral violence, have been accused of crimes against humanity and are currently behind bars at the International Criminal Court and in Ivory Coast, respectively.
(AFP, AP, DPA, Reuters, Sifa News)
Photo: UN peacekeepers patrol the streets of the Ivorian commercial capital Abidjan. Credit: DW/DPA