A further step towards reconciliation in Ivory Coast?

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.

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