Côte d’Ivoire (Country threat level - 4): On 6 December 2010 the United Nations temporarily ordered all of its non-essential staff out of Cote d'Ivoire amid rising social and political tensions. Crisis mediator and former South African President Thabo Mbeki failed to settle the ongoing election dispute after two days of negotiations. Security and stability concerns have increased in the country amid fears of a return to widespread unrest as post-election tensions increase.
Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo opened the nation's borders earlier on 6 December. Land, air and maritime borders had been closed since 2 December following election-related unrest. A nighttime curfew -- previously observed from 1900-0600 local time -- has been changed to 2200-0600 local time and has been extended until 13 December. In the meantime, opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara has established his headquarters at the Golf Hotel in Abidjan with the help of U.N. peacekeepers who have fortified this location with razor wire and military equipment. Rebel fighters, who support Ouattara, have also taken up posts at the hotel.
Analyst Comment: The likelihood of a peaceful outcome to the current situation is becoming more distant as each candidate insists that he won the election. Recent statements by rebel group representatives indicate that rebels are prepared for war. Reports in the last few years have indicated that both sides have been quietly rearming and stockpiling weapons despite an arms embargo on the country. There is a high potential for a further deterioration in overall conditions in Cote d'Ivoire in the near future. Conditions are such that a return to violence, including to levels seen during the 2002-2003 civil war, is becoming increasingly probable.
We lived in Cote d'Ivoire from 2000 to 2002.