Drogba demands end to Ivory Coast violence

Updated: Dec 25, 2010, 00:07 AM IST

Paris: Ivory Coast football star Didier Drogba demanded an end to the political violence in the strife-torn African state and for the international community to be sympathetic to the country’s latest troubles.

Drogba, who is the Ivory Coast’s national captain, yesterday expressed his fears over the deadly stand-off between Laurent Gbagbo and rival Alassane Outtara, following last month’s presidential election.

In a statement, where he speaks for the national team, Chelsea star Drogba appealed for democracy to triumph.

“We are particularly affected by the events in Ivory Coast and call for reason to end all the violence,” the footballer said in a statement sent to reporters.

“We are making this appeal to avoid new sacrifices. The people of the Ivory Coast deserve to see democracy triumphing. This serious political crisis has to end.”

“We ask each of you, every official, every soldier, every person to turn their backs on all violence and pave the way for a restoration of the democracy that our country is waiting for.”

Drogba was speaking as the United Nations demanded a halt to the “atrocities” triggered by the crisis that have left 173 dead, and accused Laurent Gbagbo’s troops of harassing its peacekeepers.

In a second blow to Gbagbo’s increasingly isolated regime, the Central Bank of West African States said only Outtara’s globally recognised government could manage the country’s accounts there.

UN officials in Abidjan said Gbagbo’s security forces, shielded by civilian protesters and backed by unidentified masked gunmen, had prevented human rights monitors from probing reports of at least two new mass graves.

Bureau Report