in M’Batto, the civil war did not take place

REPORTAGE – Calm has returned to this locality, a week after the clashes that followed the presidential election.

Following election-related clashes, soldiers patrol the town of M'Batto on November 12 in Côte d'Ivoire.
Following election-related clashes, soldiers patrol the town of M’Batto on November 12 in Côte d’Ivoire. LUC GNAGO/REUTERS

From our special correspondent in M’Batto (Ivory Coast)

The last thirty kilometers to reach the town of M’Batto, lost in the bush in the center of Côte d’Ivoire, are done on a track. Acacias, oil palm trees, banana trees, teaks, cocoa trees, rubber trees… It is a lush, hot, humid landscape, a symphony of greens, which contrasts almost harshly with the orange of the roadway. A fresh smell of cut branches. The deep silence is only broken by the cries of birds.

The track forks. As there is not the slightest sign, nor any internet connection, you have to look for a human presence. Here are two young girls on bicycles, loaded with firewood. They must be Dioulas from the north, because they are veiled in multicolored fabrics. But instead of slowing down, they accelerate at the sight of the 4 × 4. Mistrust obviously reigns in the region. We pound. They turn around, see the face calling them, understand that a white man has simply lost himself,

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