Africa

Ivorian eyewitness: Bombs cost our baby

  • 13 April 2011
  • From the section Africa
Pro-Ouattara armed militiamen patrol in a district of Abidjan on 13 April 2011.

Two days since the capture of Ivory Coast's former leader Laurent Gbagbo, bursts of gunfire can still be heard in parts of the main city of Abidjan.

The newly installed President Alassane Ouattara has said his priority is to provide security, so shops, markets, offices and banks can re-open.

Abidjan resident Noah's fiancee gave birth prematurely on the day Mr Gbagbo was taken into custody.

He told the BBC's Focus on Africa about the heartbreak of the last few days.

Testimony

I have no appetite because of the experience, but I'm trying to be positive in mind to be positive in my head and concentrate on my fiancee.

Everything just happened while we were hearing very heavy bombardments and very heavy gun blasts [on Monday].

Heavy fighting was taking place in my area [a central district not far from the presidential residence] and we could also hear very heavy bombardments coming from that side of the Akban military camp.

The French army were in helicopters surveying my area.

We had to keep quiet in the house because we had information from friends and on social networks telling me that some Gbagbo militia guys were breaking into people's houses and killing people with guns.

Then we heard information that Gbagbo had been captured - we were happy but we couldn't scream because in a situation like this you can't really say whether your neighbour is pro-Ouattara or pro-Gbagbo or if you have militia guys going past your street.

Later we heard shouting, a few minutes after that we could hear heavy knocking on the door and someone was pressing the door bell.

We refused to automatically open the door.

Then my fiancee told me she was having stomach pains.

Image caption People are venturing out to the markets as life begins to return to normal

We took some 30 minutes looking for a dispensary that was open after midday [the curfew time].

After making a couple of phone calls we got a dispensary that was not too far from our place and we got there around 7.30, 8 [in the evening]. They told us she had to go to labour.

We rushed to a hospital, even though it was night and everyone was scared about the security in the country, they did everything they could do to receive us very well.

She gave birth but later the doctor called me and told me that - your wife is in good condition, she didn't have any complications, but the problem is that the baby didn't stay.

The baby was premature; my fiancee was not due for two months.

They said it was due to distress and the heavy blood pressure because of the gun shots.

Army patrols

The gynaecologist told me that, 'listen your wife must not blame herself.'

Image caption There are still some bodies on the street which have started to decompose

The situation wasn't good enough because once a pregnant woman in this condition where you have gunshots, here gunshots there, heavy bombardments here, heavy bombardments there - she can't sleep, her blood pressure goes up and once that blood pressure goes up it acts automatically on the baby.

This is a very very bad situation for me, I'm trying my best to surmount it.

But what has had to be done to the incumbent president has been done. He has to be taken to the International Criminal Court.

Right now I feel safer going out; you have the pro-Ouattara army on the streets.

Lots of people are out on the streets now.

They are trying to go to the market first because we had people for the past 12 days who have not been eating very well.

But the market place is lacking in things and prices have doubled - the local food acheke (a grain made from cassava) used to be 100 CFA francs ($0.22, £0.13) is now 250 francs.

Some areas have had water restored and some areas have had electricity restored.

Yesterday I could go out in my car and you know you can hear people laughing, cheering on streets, nobody getting angry or yelling.

I also saw three corpses on the streets - they can't be moved, they have to be burned on the floor because the decomposition has already started.

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