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On Tuesday, April 12, 2011, an impassioned Senator Jim Inhofe waited for Senator Chuck Schumer to finish his latest harangue on the federal budget. Inhofe then took the floor to speak about the Ivory Coast, where Islamist Alassane Ouattara has taken control with the aid of a United Nations resolution and French military forces. Inhofe is known for his expertise on the continent within the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the second ranking member. But even more so, he is known for his love for Africa.
“I’m going to be offensive,” the Republican from Oklahoma warned. He advised that he would offend not only the Ouattara regime, but the United Nations, France, and the U.S. State Department. All of these have sided with Ouattara, even as his supporters slaughter Ivory Coast Christians in a manner eerily reminiscent of the slaughter perpetrated by Kenya’s Odinga, another Islamist supported by the Obama administration. Inhofe was committing this particular offense for the fifth time in a few weeks. He reminded his fellow senators that in the days leading to the assault on Abidjan he had said that “this was going to happen” and that he had warned the UN and the State Department “that they would have blood on their hands.”
Previously, in an April 7 press statement, Inhofe countered a French Embassy “fact sheet” defending their military intervention in Abidjan as “designed to neutralize the heavy weapons used against civilian populations and UN personnel.” But Inhofe said that in the densely populated city of Abidjan, “the collateral damage caused by the attacks…has caused hundreds if not thousands of civilian casualties.” He also expressed his concern for the hundreds of young supporters of President Gbagbo that had formed a human shield around the presidential palace, saying, “No one knows how many of these youths have been killed by UN and French forces.”
In his Senate floor speech, Inhofe revealed that he could not get the State Department to tell him how many innocent civilians had been killed by the French gunfire that “peppered the entire town” of Abidjan. Nor would the State Department condemn the use of “so-called peacekeeping forces that have caused countless deaths.” He read a statement from Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, who said he “was not pleased with the way the international community…had thrown its weight behind Alassane Ouattara” and that there should have been an investigation into election rigging. He also quoted the president of the African Union, Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika, President of Malawi, who said that “Africa must manage its own affairs.”
Senator Inhofe displayed enlarged photos on an easel as he spoke. He showed Abidjan in flames. He showed Ouattara’s roving death squads, which, he said, have been “disappearing” supporters of Gbagbo. Such was definitely the case in the western Ivory Coast town of Duekoue, where a massacre of as many as 1000 pro-Gbagbo supporters, mostly Christians, took place between March 27 and 30. Even Human Rights Watch agreed with the senator about this, saying that “forces loyal to Ivory Coast’s democratically elected president have killed hundreds of civilians, raped his rival’s supporters and burned villages during an offensive to try to put Alassane Ouattara in office.”
One survivor, Philomene Houe, told the Associated Press that the first to be killed were the men and young boys, but that on Tuesday, March 29, “they started killing everyone.” She said that the Ouattara forces killed mothers and children, including shooting a young neighbor and her 6-month-old baby, and the elderly. By Wednesday, Houe said that Ouattara’s troops were using machetes. “They were slitting people’s throats, anyone — men, women, children,” she said.
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