Côte d’Ivoire’s Great West: Key to Reconciliation
"Western Côte d’Ivoire’s land, security and identity problems make this vast border territory the country’s most unstable area. Reconciliation has yet to begin there and communal tensions remain acute. Two administrative regions are especially problematic: Cavally and Guémon. Outside Abidjan, these are the two regions where the post-electoral crisis claimed the most victims and which saw the gravest violence. The Ivorian government’s preference for a security clampdown there, rather than measures to address political and economic problems has done little to address instability, which could provide the spark that reignites the crisis. This report focuses on these three dynamics, which make Cavally and Guémon a continued threat for the country. Chronic instability and the failure to resolve problems could trigger a new crisis if political competition becomes fierce ahead of the next presidential election in 2015. Stabilisation will also provide an indicator of progress in reconciliation. Better mutual understanding between communities, coupled with the return of the thousands of refugees still living in Liberia, will provide a litmus test of whether reconciliation has failed or succeeded. This report is the result of several field missions – the last of which took place in April-May 2013 –to the area between the towns of Duékoué, Blolequin, Taï and Toulepleu, where some of the deadliest recent incidents in the Ivorian crisis occurred."