Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara pledged on Wednesday to quickly restore security and prosperity to a nation broken by civil war as life in the main city slowly returned to a normality of sorts.
In his first news conference since his rival Laurent Gbagbo was arrested, ending a power struggle which descended into all-out war, Ouattara promised to bring to justice all those responsible for atrocities, including his own forces.
“I say to my countrymen: in a few months Ivory Coast will have come out of this crisis. Trust me,” Ouattara said.
He said a new republican army would be formed and urged militias and mercenaries who took part in the fighting to lay down their weapons.
Gbagbo’s capture by Ouattara’s troops, aided by French forces in the former colony, drew a line under months of conflict in which thousands were killed, more than a million uprooted and the economy of the once shining star of the West African region collapsed.
In Abidjan, the commercial capital, some petrol stations reopened on Wednesday, communal taxis were running and people cautiously ventured out in the streets despite continued violence in some districts.