Abidjan after Gbagbo, a tale of two cities

In the Abobo neighbourhood of Abidjan on April 12.
 
After the arrest of incumbent Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo on Monday, April 11, districts of Abidjan that were favourable to his rival Alassane Ouattara are breathing a collective sigh of relief – even as fear and chaos reign in neighbourhoods loyal to the fallen leader.
 
In the hours following Gbagbo’s capture, Ouattara’s Republican Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI – French acronym) warned they were overwhelmed by widespread looting and violence in Abidjan, Ivory Coast's largest city. In a televised address on Monday, the new Ivorian president asked his people to "resist the temptation to retaliate", appealing for calm and reconciliation.
 
Over one thousand people have been killed and a million people displaced during the post-electoral crisis in the Ivory Coast.
 
Tell us more about the situation in your neighbourhood by posting a comment below.
 

"Gbagbo supporters in Yopougon are taking refuge in churches"

Eloi D. lives in the mostly pro-Gbagbo neighbourhood of Yopougon, in the north-west of Abidjan.
 
Throughout the post-electoral crisis, the neighbourhood of Yopougon was subjected to violence committed by pro-Gbagbo militias. Some men were even burned alive because they were suspected of being part of the RHDP, Alassane Ouattara's party. Now the fear has switched to the other side. Many Gbagbo supporters have fled their homes to take refuge in the nearby Catholic churches.
 
The only people left in my neighbourhood are RHDP sympathizers, as well as those known as ‘republicans’, meaning the residents who supported  Gbagbo but accepted Ouattara's victory. There are also some foreign mercenaries brought to the Ivory Coast by Gbagbo. They can be heard shooting in the air to cause panic and they loot the houses of those who have left the neighbourhood.
 
Yopougon has still not been secured by the FRCI. Half-burnt corpses are strewn about the streets. It is chaos.
 
As opposed to Marcoury or Treichville, our community is hemmed in, we are far from the port and we are the last to receive provisions. Even oil is now hard to come by. The price of rice has shot up from 250 CFA francs (0.37 euros) per kilo to 1200 CFA francs (1.83 euros). We are hungry, but it is impossible to go shopping in the other neighbourhoods because the transport system has ground to a halt.."
 

"In Treichville, we finally have meat on the market stands"

Our Observer known as "AldoCIV" is a shopkeeper. He lives in Treichville, a neighbourhood in the south of Abidjan in which Alassane Ouattara won a majority of votes.
 
From my balcony, I can see people in the streets. Life is getting back to normal. New products can be found in the market, ones which we haven't seen in ages. Stocks must have been sent form the north during the night. [During this crisis, trade was blocked between the northern zone, loyal to Ouattara, and the south, largely held by Gbagbo.] There was even coal and meat. Although we are still waiting for butane gas.
 
This morning, several shots were heard. I know that there were cases of looting in the Cocody neighbourhood yesterday. I will only open my shop when order has been well and truly restored in the neighbourhood. For the moment, it is still Ouattara supporters who control the neighbourhood. The police stations will have to be made operational again, as they were previously pillaged."
 
Cassava roots in the Treichville market, Friday, April 8. Photo sent by one of our Observers.
In the Treichville market, April 8. Photo sent by one of our Observers.

"I partied all night in Abobo"

Dieudonné K. lives in the Abobo neighbourhood, a Ouattara stronghold of Abidjan.
 
I partied all night and didn't sleep. I am so happy, we suffered so much here. Bit by bit people are starting to get back to their daily routines. I even managed to buy sweet potatoes this morning [April12]. I saw pro-Ouattara FRCI vehicles do the rounds to secure the perimeter and stop the looting, because yesterday the neighbourhood of Angré [south of Abobo] was ransacked by unknown thieves. You still see groups of armed combatants, but I hope that they will soon lay down their arms."
 
 
 
April 12 in the neighbourhood of Abobo. Video filmed by our Observer Diedonné K.

"Pro-Gbagbo militia are trying to maintain a pocket of resistance on the Mermoz campus of Cocody"

Isaac lives in Cocody close to the university campus of Mermoz which has become the headquarters for the FESCI, a student union renowned for being an armed wing of the Gbagbo camp.
 
This morning, I passed several roadblocks manned by pro-Gbagbo militia. Some were still armed with Kalashnikovs. Gbagbo supporters are concentrated on the Mermoz campus where they are attempting to keep up a pocket of resistance. A little further away, I passed FRCI barricades. For now, there have been no exchanges of gunfire between the two. I don't think that there will be a battle here as the leaders are going to ask their supporters to stay calm.
 
Some of the militia are Liberians or Angolans paid by Gbagbo who will be able to leave with the booty they have got from looting. I think there are very few people who are still prepared to fight on. In any case, they are no match for the FRCI, even if the residents find them intimidating."
 
Post written with FRANCE 24 journalist Ségolène Malterre.
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