Charles Ble Goude resurfaces

Charles Ble Goude, head of the ultranationalist Young Patriots, has resurfaced. Ble Goude fled Cote d’Ivore during the recent conflict between the north and south in 2010-2011. As head of the Young Patriots Ble Goude was instrumental in rallying thousands of young Ivorians to fight northern rebels. Ostensibly the Young Patriots were the youth wing of former President Gbagbo’s party. In reality it was a militia that was responsible for the deaths of countless Ivorian’s and foreigners. Ble Goude has been silent for over a year. Sightings of him have been reported in Ghana, Liberia,Togo, Gambia and Angola. In his telephone interview with the AP he never revealed his location; although poor reception on the phone line suggests he is not in a populated area. His interview seemed only to serve as a platform from which to proclaim his innocence.

“Can you show me a single video, or a single audio, where I asked the youth of Ivory Coast to hurt foreigners?”

“I organized a struggle with bare hands in order to oppose the taking of power by the arms. Madam, is this something that should result in me going to the International Criminal Court?”

“I have said it, and I repeat it – If I am asked to go to the ICC, I’m ready to go to the ICC.”

“What you are saying is totally removed from reality. I never asked the young people to put up checkpoints in order to identify the foreigners – that’s not true!”

“The young people they put up checkpoints to see if the people living in their neighborhoods, or in different neighborhoods, are armed or not … I never asked anybody to put up barricades so as to control the foreigners. This isn’t true! It’s your own invention.”

There is no doubt that northern rebels, aided by France and the UN, committed horrible war crimes. Nonetheless Ble Goude has a lot of blood on his hands. After one such speech, in which Ble Goude urged Young Patriots to man road blocks, an estimated 32 foreign immigrants were killed according to Human Rights Watch. HRW reported that 14 of the victims were brutally killed; with some being set in fire.

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