Indeed, this particular UN unit came from Togo, and protected the hotel guests, but their duties did not protect them from engaging in heated discussions with the guests about the fate of African teams competing in the World Cup.
Naturally, my colleague, John Banks, had to assure his wife, Patricia, that he was safe. So, we took pictures of ourselves with the soldiers and chatted about … the weather! She was glad to receive the email with attached assurances.
In 2006, and on two other previous occasions, the guests came in an out of the hotel with relative ease. But now, in January 2011, the situation is tense and on the verge of yet another civil war. The security forces loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo, who insists he won the presidential election, are denying access to the hotel. Since the crisis over the results began several weeks ago, few journalists have had access to the hotel premises.