UN Ends Peacekeeping Mission In Ivory Coast After 13 Years
They came in 13 years ago to achieve a purpose, and that is to stabilise Ivory Coast after years of conflict and post-electoral violence
By their calculation, they have achieved it and it is time to leave.
The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast has come to an end.
While many praise the mission's success in stabilizing the country, others point to a recent series of army mutinies as a sign that peace remains tentative.
U.N. peacekeepers first worked to maintain a cease-fire between the rebel-controlled north and the government-controlled south after an attempted coup in 2002 led to civil war. A peace deal in 2007 ultimately brought key rebel leaders into the administration, but deep divisions remained.
The country again came close to civil war in 2011 when then-leader Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede defeat after losing the election and some 3,000 people were killed in the violence that followed.
As of Friday, the mission that most recently cost $153 million a year will be over. The U.N. Security Council in April 2016 voted unanimously to end the mission, a motion of confidence in the country's progress.
For many Ivorians, the departure of the peacekeepers is a positive sign even as worries flare about the recent military tensions. Many recall it was only six years ago that post-electoral conflict claimed so many lives.
"The U.N. mission should stay in place a few more years during the process of reconciliation and restructuring the army," said Firmin Kouakou, a student in the financial capital, Abidjan. "The seeds that led to the previous crisis are gradually re-emerging."