Ivory Coast general pledges allegiance to Ouattara

AP News
Posted: Apr 26, 2011 2:33 PM
Ivory Coast general pledges allegiance to Ouattara

Another general pledged allegiance to Ivory Coast's new president on Tuesday as schools struggled to reopen following months of political upheaval and postelection violence.

Gen. Mathias Doue, a former chief of staff to the Armed Forces of Ivory Coast, was received by President Alassane Ouattara at the Golf Hotel where he has set up his government since November elections. An Associated Press reporter was there to witness the statement of allegiance.

Several general and senior officers from former President Laurent Gbagbo's forces already have pledged their allegiance to Ouattara. A renegade warlord Ibrahim Coulibaly pledged his allegiance to Ouattara in an AP interview, but has not yet been received by the new president.

Ivory Coast was plunged into chaos in November after Gbagbo refused to step down after losing the long-delayed presidential election. The two men vied for power for months until fighters backing Ouattara _ the internationally recognized winner _ managed to force Gbagbo from office with the help of U.N. and French forces.

The Nov. 28 elections were supposed to reunite the country, but Gbagbo's stubborn refusal to accept his defeat precipitated the most recent violence in a country in conflict for a decade. It is not known how many thousands have been killed and wounded.

Ouattara's government has appealed for residents to return to their normal lives in the West African nation. But some schools were damaged or looted during the clashes earlier this month that culminated in Gbagbo's arrest.

Amelia Kouakou, a history and geography teacher in Abidjan, said Tuesday she has "faith that everything will come to order very quickly."

Student Cedrique Dembele said he showed up for classes but was sent home because his own teacher had not arrived.