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April 6, 2011

Cote d'Ivoire

[Page: S2096]  GPO's PDF 

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Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, we hear a lot about the disaster and things that are taking place and the loss of lives in Libya as well as many other places, particularly in the last few months. But going seemingly unnoticed is probably just as great a disaster that is happening in Cote D'Ivoire right now as we speak.

I came to the floor yesterday, and I talked about the fact that elections took place in Cote D'Ivoire last November. The President, the incumbent President, Laurent Gbagbo, was challenged by Alassane Ouattara. They claim Ouattara won the election. Ouattara comes from the north, the Muslim area up there.

We found so much voter fraud that we identified, and we specifically talked about on the Senate floor, that I have asked Secretary Clinton, by letter twice, to intervene and demand a new election.

When I say ``voter fraud,'' I entered this in the Record yesterday, so I will not do it again today. But this shows how they miscalculated all those votes in the north. In just one precinct, 100,000 votes--well, actually 94,873. Obviously, if we have 100,000 or so votes in that one precinct, it can happen that way.

But use logic. If all else fails, stop and think about this. How could it be possible that in the northern part of Cote D'Ivoire, when they had the election, what we would call the primary election, President Gbagbo got thousands, thousands of votes in each one of the precincts. Yet when the runoff came, he got zero. That is a statistical impossibility. I think for those of us--certainly, the United States thought the U.N. and perhaps France was accurate in their initial response to this thing that we were going to have to get something done.

Let me go ahead and finish what happened. I mentioned yesterday in the town of Duekoue, Ouattara's forces, along with the French, went in there, murdered about--we think something over 1,000 people. We get the reports from the Red Cross and from other sources.

But Ouattara has tried to deny his involvement in this slaughter. His forces took the town earlier, and this was the week after the Gbagbo forces had gone. I think we can just look at Guillaume Ngefa, who is the deputy head of the U.N. mission in Cote D'Ivoire.

He said Ouattara's forces had carried out the killings in Duekoue. ``We have evidence. We have pictures. This was retaliation.''

[Page: S2097]  GPO's PDF

So we have all this evidence I mentioned yesterday which was part of it. I read yesterday from the Guardian, the British Guardian. The U.N. mission said traditional hunters, known as Dozos, fought alongside Ouattara's forces and took part in killing 330 people in the western town of Duekoue, which we now know is over 1,000 people. The International Committee of the Red Cross said at least 800 people. It goes on and on, which I made a part of the Record yesterday.

In addition to that, we have a statement that was made on the BBC yesterday. Keep in mind, they have, in Duekoue--they murdered all those people. They have mass graves. People are charred and burned. I am going to quote right now, so hold your stomach.

I spot four pigs eating something dark in a charred courtyard. Standing by a newly dug mass grave, a U.N. soldier from Morocco is choking with rage and grief. I ask him if the dead are children. He nods and begins to sob quietly into his face mask.

So we know of this disaster that has taken place there, and we do nothing. We know about it. I just will say: America, wake up. The massacre could have been avoided if Ouattara had accepted the mediation effort from the African Union. President Gbagbo did accept, Ouattara did not. He rejected it, and I think we know why he rejected it--because he wants that power. He wants that job.

Anyway, where we are now--and I am going to try to get this all in--the United States should call for a ceasefire and for a new election. I have also been told, within the last day, that the U.N. helicopters, U.S. peacekeeping helicopters are firing upon Gbagbo's military camp.

Lastly, I have sent a letter to the Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry. Let me applaud John Kerry. He has agreed to hold a hearing to look at this. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it because it takes courage to stand up against the United Nations and France and our State Department and admit that we have to look into this. So that is exactly what we are going to do.

But that was yesterday on the floor. What has happened? What happened last night? Last night, the job was finished. They went in, and they massacred I do not know how many people.

President Gbagbo had young children who were surrounding his palace and his residence. They are willing to sacrifice their lives to save their country from the French influence they are getting with Ouattara.

They were armed with baseball bats and 2 by 4s. I do not know, there are hundreds of them out there. Last night, Sarkozy had gone to Secretary General Moon and said: Use my forces to end this, and they did. We know what happened last night.

Maybe you do not know what happened last night. They went in with helicopters and with rockets, and they destroyed most of a major city, Abidjan, the capital of Cote D'Ivoire. We have evidence. I hope people will take advantage of this, particularly those people--I know there are a lot of people out there who are opposed to any intervention we have. They do not truly care about Sub-Saharan Africa. No one cares about Sub-Saharan Africa.

I have stood on this floor time and time again, back when we were sending troops into Bosnia, and the excuse was ethnic cleansing. I said: For every 1 day in any town in any country in Sub-Saharan Africa, there are more people ethnically cleansed than in any day in Bosnia.

But nobody seemed to care. So we have hundreds of kids around there, and last night they were mowed down. If anyone questions this, you can access on my Internet, inhofe.senate.gov, and get the YouTube that shows graphically what they are doing. I do not know how many hundreds, how many thousands of people were brutally murdered last night by the French, supporting Ouattara. It is something we need to get involved in.

When I look at President Obiang, who is from Equatorial Guinea, he is the chairman of the African Union. He says he condemned the foreign intervention in the Ivory Coast.

We stand by idly, and we don't do anything about it.

I renew my request to Secretary Clinton and to the State Department and to others who care about the loss of innocent life in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically in Abidjan and Cote d'Ivoire, to come forward and help us find justice. I hope President Gbabgo and his wife Simone are not dead today. They might be dying as we speak. They are raiding their residence, raiding the palace. It is a brutal mess. I don't think I have ever seen in the years I have been here, particularly coming from France, supported by Sarkozy, the raid on innocent lives in sub-Saharan Africa.

If no one else comes in, I will talk longer. I ask unanimous consent to speak until someone comes in to speak.

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, I guess you might wonder why I am concerned. I have had an interest in sub-Saharan Africa for quite some time. After 9/11, finally the United States decided they would do something of concern in sub-Saharan Africa. So what we have had since that time is an interest in helping them to build African brigades, as the terrorists come down through the Horn of Africa and Djibouti and into the continent. We need to help the Africans build brigades so they can resist, not doing it for them, not doing it in place of the Africans, but to help them so they can defend themselves. That is exactly what we have been doing.

I have been honored to be the point man on the Armed Services Committee to go over and work with these guys. These countries in Africa are our friends. They participate in programs such as the IMET program that allows us to train their officers in the United States, such as the Train and Equip Program that allows us to work with them and train these individuals. When we see an atrocity such as this take place, when we visualize the young kids out there being brutally murdered, we should do something about it.

I praise someone who philosophically I have not agreed with most of the time, Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. I am on his committee as well as Armed Services. He is sympathetic to what is going on and has agreed to having a hearing. There is a man named Meltheodore. He was the mayor, when I first met him, mayor of Abidjan in Cote d'Ivoire. He is currently a member of Parliament in Cote d'Ivoire. He is the head of an opposing political party to President Gbagbo. He was a candidate against President Gbagbo when he ran successfully for President. Here is a guy who would have every reason to be opposed to President Gbagbo. Yet he is willing to testify before Senator Kerry's committee that not only did they rig the election, but he showed the documentation on rigging the election, and we should be in a position where we could strongly recommend another election.

I have nothing against Alassane Ouattara except I do know that he has been an enemy of the Gbagbos since long before 2002, when he was opposed to him. This is, I guess, the final kill. But at what expense is this coming? It is coming at a high expense in terms of a number we can't quantify today. If colleagues don't believe it, look it up. They can get the YouTube site. They can watch what happened last night. They can get that off of my Web site, inhofe.senate.gov.

I see my friend Senator Manchin from West Virginia. Before yielding the floor, I wish to applaud him for his being courageous and standing up for doing something about the EPA taking over the regulation of greenhouse gases that would put coal and oil and gas out of our reach. I applaud Senator Manchin.

I yield the floor.

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from West Virginia.

Mr. MANCHIN. I thank my good friend for his hard work. We are working in a bipartisan manner.

(Senate - April 5, 2011)

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