Most Dutch expats in Ivory Coast choose to stay

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Most of the Dutch expats living in the Ivory Coast have chosen to ignore an advisory from the Dutch foreign ministry to leave the country.

The Dutch ambassador to Ghana, Gerard Duifjes, has told Radio Netherlands that around 12 of the approximately 50 Dutch citizens living in the Ivory Coast have left the country over the past few days due to rising tensions over last month's disputed presidential elections.

Strong ties Ambassador Duifjes said that most of the Dutch residents who have chosen to stay have been living in the Ivory Coast for a long time, and have strong ties with the country, perhaps through marriage. 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 the country 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.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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