In Ivory Coast, Bouaké wants the “rebel” to look to the future

Our reporters returned to the city of Bouaké in Ivory Coast, which had been taken hostage by the uprising in the north for ten years, from the beginning of the first crisis in the country, in 2002. This metropolis from the center of the country now wants to turn the side of the war years and get rid of its label “rebel city”.

In Ivory Coast, as early as 2002, the city of Bouaké had been occupied by rebel movements against President Laurent Gbagbo, who won the election two years earlier. With the support of neighboring Burkina Faso, these troops had taken control of the northern half of the country and made Bouaké their capital for more than ten years.

The UN peacekeepers then monitored the dividing line between the north and the south. On November 6, 2004, the bombing of French troops from Operation Licorne had sealed Bouaké’s name in the collective imagination as a “rebel town.”

>> See: Reporters: “Fifteen years after the bombing of Bouaké, the mysteries of a trial”

Great works

Twenty years after the first Ivorian crisis, the city has changed. The war years left its mark and delayed the development of the metropolis. “In ten years of political-military crisis, we have been going back thirty years,” laments Nicolas Djibo, the mayor of Bouaké.

In order to compensate for lost time, a series of large projects have been launched. All residents of Bouaké now want to turn the page and prepare the city to host the African Cup of Nations in 2023. Veterans are gradually integrating into civilian life. The Baoule country’s capital intends to be reborn and become Bouaké last year, a city where life is good.