Côte d'Ivoire: Where is Gbagbo's General, Philippe Magou?

This post is part of our special coverage Côte d'Ivoire Unrest 2011.

Monday March 14, 2011, was a busy day in Côte d'Ivoire, and also on the country's blogosphere and Twittersphere. After violence this past weekend in the Abobo district of southerly economic capital Abidjan, Ivorians in the city were woken up by Kalashnikovs and heavy artillery in the Yopougon district caused by the outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo's supporters.

The confrontation started in the district of Andokoi, where General Philippe Mangou‘s [fr] residence is located. Mangou was named chief of the armed forces by Gbagbo, a situation that has been enough to re-ignite controversy surrounding the General.

Indeed, rumors in Abidjan have been growing as to General Mangou's responsibility in this crisis. Some believe he took refuge with the 43rd BIMA (bataillon d'infanterie de marine – French marine battalion) [fr] while others think he is in the Canadian Embassy in Abidjan.

General Philippe Mangou. Image available via Wikipedia, under Creative Commons license.

General Philippe Mangou. Image available via Wikipedia, under Creative Commons license.

Where is the General?

The website ConnectionIvoirienne [fr] set off the speculation on Twitter on March 14:

@connectionivoir: Côte d’Ivoire Mangou ni en tournée dans les casernes ni à L’état major, les soldats grognent: Après vérification…http://bit.ly/dOlT2q

@connectionivoir: Côte d’Ivoire's Mangou is neither touring barracks nor is he at the staff headquarters, soldiers were complaining: After verification…http://bit.ly/dOlT2q

With the General neither at his house or touring barracks, rumors and questions spread as to his whereabouts on Twitter. This is how Twitter user @MouhamedSY explains the situation [Twitter account currently inactive and direct tweet link unavailable]:

@MouhamedSY: Des deux camps il y a trop de désinformations de mensonges, de manipulation et de paranoïa sur #civ2010 notamment sur Mangou

@MouhamedSY: There is much manipulation, paranoia and deliberate spread of lies from both camps to do with #civ2010 [hashtag used for current unrest] notably about Mangou

In the evening of March 14, an appearance by the General in the African journal of Radio France International (RFI) [fr] was announced by Mike Miller (@R2D2V3) [fr] on Twitter:

@R2D2V3#civ2010 Mangou sur RFI à 18H30 (Source iTélé)

@R2D2V3: #civ2010 Mangou on RFI at 18h30 (Source iTélé)

Radio no-show

Ivorians looking forward to the General's scheduled appearance were disappointed by a no-show, as described by Twitter user Andros Vacuna (@Androsvacuna) [fr]:

@Androsvacuna#civ2010 aucune interview de Mangou au journal de 18h30 sur RFi. Fausse info?

@Androsvacuna: #civ2010 No interview with Mangou at the 18H30 newscast on RFI. False information?

@Justice JFK [fr] was also following the newscast:

@Justice JFK: RFI Soir en cours: aucune mention d'une intervention du Gl Mangou. Fausse alerte/ i-télé? #civ2010

@Justice JFK: RFI evening newscast in progress: there is no mention of an interview with General Mangou. False alert from i-télé? #civ2010

At the end of the radio newscast, communications adviser for Laurent Gbagbo, Alain Toussain (@toussaintalain) [fr] tried to reassure the Ivorian people [fr] via Twitter:

@toussaintalain: Le Général Mangou, CEMA tjrs à son poste et aux côtés du Président Laurent Gbagbo. #civ2011 #civ2010 #afrique #rfi #bbc #clifci #cotedivoire

@toussaintalain: General Mangou, chief of the armed forces, still holds his position at the sides of president Laurent Gbagbo. #civ2011 #civ2010 #afrique #rfi #bbc #clifci #cotedivoire

However, skeptics will ask for proof of this. @Camso2010 [fr] issues a call to see the General on a RTI (Radiodiffusion Télévision Ivoirienne – pro Gbagbo Ivorian television channel) [fr] show called LMP TV:

@Cams02010: @toussaintalain Montrez Mangou sur votre LMPTV comme ça, ça va nous calmer ! #civ2010

@Cams02010: @toussaintalain Show us Mangou on your LMPTV that is what will appease us!#civ2010

Gbagbo's lack of trust towards the Ivorian military is also adding to the confusion. @Jusice JFK‘s [fr] tweet gives an idea of what Laurent Gbagbo thinks of army generals:

@Jusice JFK: JA2618: “Un général, il vous fait le garde-à-vous, la minute suivante il peut vous faire un coup d'Etat” signé Laurent Gbagbo #civ2010

@Jusice JFK: JA2618: “A general; one minute they will stand at attention and the following minute they will carry out a coup against you” signed by Laurent Gbagbo #civ2010

In the evening of March 14, there were no new pictures of General Mangou during the evening television newscast of Laurent Gbagbo, which only accentuated the rumors and controversy.

This post is part of our special coverage Côte d'Ivoire Unrest 2011.

1 comment

  • Paul

    What the french done in Ivory Coast wasn’t rght, they doesn’t have right to capture a president of a country for Ivorian crises, it’s not normal. Am hereby asking that Mr Gbagbo be released immediately and unconditionaly because la Cote d’Ivoire was an independent country and her constitutions have to be respected by anyother nations, not because it wasn’t part of the world super power as France.

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