Most Dutch citizens staying on in Ivory Coast
Most of the Dutch expats in Ivory Coast have chosen to ignore an advisory from the Dutch foreign ministry to leave the restive country.
The Dutch ambassador to Ghana Gerard Duifjes has told Radio Netherlands that some 12 of the about 50 Dutch citizens in Ivory Coast have left the country in the past few days. They are all people involved in non-essential duties.
Strong ties Ambassador Duifjes said that most of the Dutch citizens who have chosen to stay have been living in Ivory Coast for a long time and have strong ties with the country, for instance because they married an Ivorian partner. The ambassador says they will only leave as a last resort. Most of them – about 20 – live in Abidjan, the country’s main city and the focal point of clashes between the two parties fighting over the presidency. Mr Duifjes points out that most of the violence takes place in neighbourhoods where very few, if any, foreigners live. The Dutch embassy in Ghana checks on the Dutch citizens in Ivory Coast by phone every other day.
Political crisis The crisis in Ivory Coast broke out when incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo refused to admit defeat in last month’s presidential elections. The international community has recognised his rival Alassane Ouattara as the country’s legitimate president. Mr Gbagbo is still in control of the ministries and part of the armed forces. So far, more than 50 people have been killed in clashes between supporters of the two rivals.
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