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At Bangolo Hospital, western Ivory Coast, a young man hides his face after recounting the story of his injuries from post-election violence. He was shot by advancing pro-Ouattara forces and left for dead until a passing soldier heard him groan. Out of bullets, the soldier began hacking at him with a machete. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A woman hides her face after recounting her story of post-election violence. She was forcibly displaced from her home and beaten by pro-Ouattara forces. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A man hides his face after recounting the story of an assault on his four children during the recent violence. They were fleeing from an attack by pro-Ouattara forces on their village when four of his five children were shot with hunting rifles. All of them survived. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A man conceals his face after recounting the story of his injuries sustained during post-election violence. When pro-Ouattara foces attacked his village, his legs were set on fire, and he was badly burned and beaten. Image by Peter Dicampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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In Guiglo, western Ivory Coast, four young men hide their identities after telling how they survived a massacre committed by retreating pro-Gbagbo forces in nearby Blolekin. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A woman hides her face after recounting her story of post-election violence in Duékoué, western Ivory Coast. Pro-Ouattara forces killed two of her children and one of her brothers. She now lives in a nearby camp for internally displaced people, as she is still too afraid to permanently return home. Estimates of the total number killed in Duékoué are as high as 800. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A man hides his face after recounting an attack on his village, Diahouin, western Ivory Coast. Pro-Ouattara forces destroyed much of the village, including the cocoa garden where he stands. Disputes over cocoa land rights are the root cause of conflict in the western part of the country, where migrant workers were given land to farm until it became profitable, at which point many locals forcibly took their land back. The immigrants generally side with Ouattara and some of them took advantage of the shift in power to strike back at their neighbors. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A woman hides her identity after telling of her assault during the recent violence. She was hiding in the bush for four days after fleeing from her neighborhood, but was eventually discovered, after which she was beaten and sexually assaulted. Her two-year-old son was shot and killed as they fled. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A young boy looks at buildings that were destroyed during post-election violence in Diahouin. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A destroyed home in Duékoué. The massacre here was perhaps the largest of the conflict. Estimates of those killed are as high as 800. The people from this neighborhood are still too afraid to return home, so they live in a camp for internally displaced people just a few miles away. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A destroyed home in Duékoué. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A destroyed home in Duékoué. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A pile of sandals, including those of a child, inside an office building in Blolekin, where dozens of people were killed during post-election violence. As fighting intensified, the Forces Republique de Cote d'Ivoire gathered all of their civilian supporters from the surrounding area into a building thought to be safe, but the retreating militias loyal to former President Laurent Gbagbo broke in and killed everyone they could. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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Human remains are burned outside a home in Duékoué. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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Human remains in a home in Duékoué. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A young man returns to the site of a massacre he survived in Blolekin. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A destroyed home in Duékoué. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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The site of a mass grave in Blolekin, where dozens of people were killed during recent violence. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A destroyed home in Duékoué. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A camp for refugees at the Catholic Mission in Duékoué. Each night in the camp, about 28,000 people sleep in a limited space that must accommodate three people per square meter. Most of the displaced live just down the road, but they are too afraid leave the safety of the camp. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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People argue over water distribution in a refugee camp run by the Catholic Mission in Duékoué. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A patient who was diagnosed with hypoglycemia at an Medecins Sans Frontieres dispensary inside the Duékoué IDP camp. After he was displaced by post-election violence, the man went several days without eating. MSF provides more than 200 consultations to displaced people per day. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A young girl is helped by her mother in Bangolo Hospital. She was shot in the foot as she fled an attack on her village near Duékoué during post-election violence. The wound was too severe to save her foot and it had to be amputated. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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At Bangolo hospital, a man holds the hand of his brother, who was shot in the back of the head and left for dead as he tried to flee violence in his village. Unable to find him, his family had begun his funeral when they were informed he was in Bangolo. He has only recently emerged from a coma and is not fully conscious; there is still a bullet lodged in his brain. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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Young men build their own shelter out of sticks cut from a nearby forest in the Duékoué IDP camp. Each night in the camp, about 28,000 people sleep in a space that must accommodate three people per square meter, and the camp is still growing. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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A woman cooks rice in the Duékoué IDP camp. Most of the displaced live just down the road, but they are too afraid leave the safety of the camp. This woman now has a business selling rice inside the camp. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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Villagers wait for a consultation at an Medecins Sans Frontieres mobile clinic held at a health center in Glepleu, western Ivory Coast. During recent violence the villagers fled over the nearby border into Liberia, and the health center was looted. Now most people have returned, but there is no infrastructure to provide for basic health needs. MSF comes twice a week to support the one local nurse at the center. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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The leaders of several immigrant tribes meet to discuss post-war issues in a home in Guiglo. Western Ivory Coast is home to a large population of immigrants, mostly cocoa farmers, predominantly from Burkina Faso, Mali, and other regions of Ivory Coast. The leaders agreed that they would urge their people to end reprisal killings against the native tribes. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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Seidou Sawadogo farms as his son Abudu Fatou Sawadogo plays in the farming village of Carrefour Dela Paix, western Ivory Coast. The Sawadogo family is originally from Burkina Faso. Seidou's father moved came here decades ago to farm cocoa. In 2004, immigrant farmers throughout the region were forced off the land that had previously been given to them. They lived in IDP camps for several years, while the unfarmed land went to waste. With the recent shift in political power, they are free to farm again, but it will take years for the crops to reach their previous high yield. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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Children play in a camp for refugees at the Catholic Mission in Duékoué. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2011.
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Most of the post-election violence that plagued Ivory Coast for months has finally ended as Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of presidential elections, wrested control from Laurent Gbagbo, the tyrannical former president. But in the western part of the country, these names were merely the backdrop for a continuing conflict over land rights and cocoa farming profits.

Migrant workers from nearby Mali, Burkina Faso, and other regions of Ivory Coast moved to the west en masse decades ago to farm cocoa in the fertile soil. At first they worked and lived harmoniously with the local tribes, and various unofficial land agreements were made between the two. In many cases, the land was given or sold to the migrants—only to be taken back once the cocoa trade became enormously profitable.

The wounds of their rivalries, both old and new, are still healing. The recent conflict brought two massacres to the region, one committed by each side, with hundreds of civilians killed. At least 28,000 local people are now living in refugee camps, and thousands of locals and immigrants have fled into neighboring Liberia, afraid to return home for fear of continued attacks.

People on both sides of the conflict wanted their stories told, but because acts of revenge and reprisal killings are a real threat, many agreed to speak and be photographed only on the condition that their identy be concealed.

With the new shift in power, there is hope that those who work the fields will finally reap the benefits of their toil, regardless of their origin. But considering the current state of the region–uncertain and tumultuous to say the least–it remains to be seen whether the next chapter in Ivory Coast’s story will be one of continuing conflict or a newly forged peace.

Project

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Instead of a return to peace and prosperity, Ivory Coast’s long-delayed presidential elections marked a return to brutal conflict—and with it, a severe humanitarian crisis.

Recently

October 11, 2011 / VII Magazine
Peter DiCampo
Survivors tell of the atrocities they witnessed following bitterly contested presidential elections in Ivory Coast.
October 7, 2011 / Human Rights Watch
Peter DiCampo
Pulitzer Center grantee Peter DiCampo's photographs on post-election violence in Ivory Coast are featured in Human Rights Watch’s new report "They Killed Them Like It Was Nothing".