Ethnic Tensions erupt in Central Ivory Coast.

Building set ablaze during an ethnic riot in Beoumi./ other sources

According to sources on the ground in BEOUMI, on May 15th 2019, a horde of West Africans immigrants  armed with Kalashnikovs, hunting rifles, Molotov cocktails and acid-filled bottles descended on the city of Béoumi in central Ivory Coast to kill, maim and burn  the indigenous Baoulé landowners who had welcomed them decades ago in this Akan region on the basis of the legendary Ivorian hospitality.

The apocalyptical scenes of violence were the result of a seemingly common altercation between a Malinké minicar driver and his Baoulé tricycle counterpart. Indeed for some time, apart from traditional cars, tricycles have appeared to enhance the fluidity of road travels in this part of the country.

At the heart of the dispute over a  fender-bender lies the control of the monopoly of transport business by  Malinkés or so-called dioulas. 

A road rage between the two parties led to the doula driver striking the baoule with a machete, thus provoking a region-wide revolt of baoulés who felt they had had enough of being bullied into submission by these foreigners. When the dust settled, there were 9 dead and 84 wounded according to France broadcaster TV5 Monde. The Godé tribe of baoulé ethnic group in this region vowed to avenge their dead at all cost, so leaders of all 97 villages in this région south of Bouaké decided to take the matters into their own hands instead of lamenting, whining and waiting for a hypothetical "savior"!

They launched a fightback by propping up the "golly" warrior mask, a sign that they were on a warpath. They have since been hounding the dioulas in a show of force. To them, freedom from these "invaders" will have to be bloody to command respect. Before then, they will be no peace in Beoumi.

In recent months, Ivory Coast has been embroiled in inter-ethnic conflicts with an ever-present constant; the involvement of dioulas in every village, town, and city of this once peaceful land" Says, comedian Gbi de fer in his satiric newsreel " Journal de l'émergence".

• With the 2020 presidential election looming on the horizon and the country's recent history of electoral violence, it is even more of an existential necessity to tackle the issue of reconciliation which has barely been addressed by the authorities after the so-called post-electoral crisis of 2010 which, according to the U.N and aid agencies caused 3000 dead. Let's not forget that the absence of conflict is merely a negative peace so fragile,  the spark of violence can easily be ignited to produce the effects of the very same causes.

Ivory Coast Tribune.