Universities reopen for first time post conflict

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Ivory Coast's universities reopened on Monday for the first time since post-election violence rocked the West African nation last year, a milestone officials described as a testament to the country's recovery.

In remarks at a newly refurbished university in Abidjan, President Alassane Ouattara expressed hope that the universities - once hotbeds of violence - would become engines of development.

Addressing the students, he said, "Tomorrow you will be the ones holding up the flag of this country. Make the country be respected."

Ouattara defeated ex-President Laurent Gbagbo in the 2010 election, but Gbagbo refused to cede office, nearly dragging the country into civil war.

Gbagbo, a former professor, drew considerable support from the country's universities, particularly from the main student union, which morphed into a militia-like organization during the conflict.