Ivory Coast rebels advance against Gbagbo

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Ivory Coast rebels advance against Gbagbo

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Ivory Coast’s disputed presidential election appears finally to have reignited the country’s civil war.

Rebel forces loyal to the UN-backed president-elect Alassane Ouattara have opened up two new fronts in a bid to oust the incumbent leader, Laurent Gbagbo.

Ouattara’s so-called New Forces already control the north but now heavy fighting has broken out in a western cocoa producing area.

The rebels claim to have taken the town of Duekoue, previously controlled by Gbagbo while at the same time they’ve sealed off the border with neighbouring Liberia.

Ouattara has accused his rival of recruiting Liberian fighters in his attempt to cling on to power despite November’s election giving Ouattara a clear lead.

Laurent Gbagbo disputes the result and has called on his links with Ivory Coast’s military for support.

But along with Ouattara rebels he is also struggling to contain a guerrilla force known as the Invisible Commandos who have taken part control of the economic capital of Abidjan.

To date over one million civilians have been displaced by the unrest.