It is encouraging to read that another step seems to have been taken towards reunification of north and south in Ivory Coast.

BOUAKE, Ivory Coast (AFP) — Leaders of Ivory Coast’s formerly rebel New Forces (FN), who have controlled the north of the country since 2002, on Tuesday relinquished power to prefects in a key step towards reunification.

“Civilian administrative duties in the territory are exercised exclusively by prefectorial authorities (district administrators) as of the signing of the present document,” said a text signed by FN leader and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro.

The official handover took place at a ceremony in Bouake, a rebel stronghold town in central Ivory Coast, where military power in rebel territory was also turned over to forces of a joint command.

When civil war erupts in a country, as happened in Ivory Coast in 2002, lives are destroyed,  and suspicion reigns. Once the population is split into factions, positions become entrenched and it takes a huge effort to bring the violence to a halt and start to work for peace. But beyond that it takes even longer to rebuild trust which has been shattered and reunite a divided country after everything that has been suffered on both sides.  Let us hope that this further step towards political reunification might also be a step towards real reconciliation between Ivorians of different political persuasions or ethnic groups living side by side.

Read more here.