2003 Photo Contest, Spot News, 1st prize

Georges Gobet

Agence France-Presse

19 September, 2002

Close to the camp where the military mutiny began, soldiers constrain residents on the first day of the uprising. The military uprising broadened to encompass others opposed to the government of President Laurent Gbagbo. The mutinous soldiers were joined by northern Muslims, who voiced discontent at what they saw as government discrimination against them. New laws prevented Ivorians with foreign backgrounds from voting, and barred opposition leader Alassanne Ouattara, a northern Muslim, from standing in presidential elections, as it was claimed he was born in Burkina Faso. After the first day of fighting in the original uprising, the mutineers were in control of the northern part of the country, but were later driven out of Abidjan in the south. As the conflict spread, it grew to encompass a number of different rebel groups. Some reports indicated that fighters from other west-African wars were joining the rebels. France, the former colonial power, later attempted to broker a settlement between government and rebels, and to monitor a cease fire.

About the photographer

Georges Gobet

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