Pro-Ouattara Forces Continue Fight to Seize Presidential Palace in Ivory Coast

Pro-Ouattara Forces Continue Fight to Seize Presidential Palace in Ivory Coast
Republican forces soldiers relax around a bottle of champagne taken from the presidential residence one day earlier, as forces allied with Alassane Ouattara captured strongman Laurent Gbagbo, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Tuesday, April 12, 2011. President Ouattara called on all fighters to put down their arms now that the longtime strongman has been captured after his refusal to cede power sparked violence leaving bodies piled at morgues.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)( / AP)

The forces supporting Alassane Ouattara, the man recognized as the president of Ivory Coast, are still engage in bitter fight to seize control of the presidential residence where the country’s incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo is refusing to surrender. Pro-Gbagbo forces are refusing to give up and have managed to hold off pro-Ouattara fighters late Thursday. French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said that the compound, where Gbagbo is holding out in a bunker, is defended by 200 troops.

Earlier, the forces loyal to Ouattara gave French and United Nations officials more than one day to negotiate Gbagbo’s surrender, but he refused to accept Ouattara as the country’s duly-elected president. Gbagbo’s refusal led to the resumption of the fight between the two sides. Gbagbo supporters say that the embattled leader was u willing to surrender and he started talks with French and U.N. officials in order to negotiate a ceasefire as U.N. helicopters had started attacking the presidential residence and the main barracks. Gbagbo attorney Alain Toussaint stressed that Gbagbo will never to anyone, not to the Ouattara rebellion, not to the United Nations, not even to France. Toussaint noted that the constitutional council of the country had elected him as the president of Ivory Coast and he is not a king or an emperor who would surrender.

Ouattara was announced the winner of the November election on electoral commission results certified by the United Nations. The fighting between the two sides began after the announcement of result and hundreds of people have died so far.


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