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Ghana prepares for refugees from Ivory Coast crisis with “Operation Quagbo”

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Laurent Gbagbo

Ghana’s Western Regional Coordinating Council has inaugurated an operational team to deal with the influx of refugees that might result from the ongoing political crisis in Ivory Coast, the GNA reports.

The team has been named “Operation Quagbo 2010”. It will receive, screen, register, group, disperse and manage returnees and refugees from Ivory Coast as well as seeing to the overall coordination of the operation.

The Ivory Coast has been in political stand-off following a disputed elections run-off November 28, 2010. The incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo insists he has won the elections and so is his opponent, Alassane Ouattara. The two have been installed as presidents, making the Ivory Coast have two presidents.

The tension has led to riots, and some over 200 people are believed to have been killed and some more than 20,000 have fled to Liberia.

The UN Peace Keeping Force in that country has also come under some attack. The UN force is offering protection to Ouattara who is widely believed by the international community to have won the elections.

The West African regional grouping ECOWAS, which is largely expected to have resolved the matter, in its first attempt, demanded that Gbagbo steps down through peaceful means or be removed out of office with military force. Following that threat, not much has been achieved by ECOWAS despite a series of negotiations, which also involved the African Union (AU).

It is not clear yet how or when the political crisis would be resolved in Ghana’s western neighbour, but it is becoming obvious that Ghana would have to prepare to take in refugees from Ivory Coast, and the country is doing so with the inauguration of this team.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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