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Battle for Abidjan looms as Outtara militia make gains

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Battle for Abidjan looms as Outtara militia make gains


Fighters loyal to presidential claimant Alassane Outtara are advancing on the Ivory Coast’s main city of Abidjan.

Anti-Gbagbo forces have launched a series of offensives across the country in recent days and now control key coca-producing areas in a push to remove President Laurent Gbagbo from power.

“The only way to get Gbagbo to stand down is through strength. We know where he sleeps. We know where he keeps his weapons. If he thinks we cannot move he is wrong. We will move this week,” warned one Outtara fighter.

The fighting erupted over last November’s presidential election that UN-certified results showed Ouattara won, but Gbagbo refuses to concede.

The push through the west and east will lead to a showdown in Abijan where violence is already rife.

Despite Gbagbo’s call for a ceasefire he has mobilised his “Young Patriots,” considered his most dangerous and unpredictable weapon. They have set up roadblocks armed with AK47’s and machetes in and around the city.

As the prospect of a full blown battle for Abidjan looms people are trying desperately to leave the area.

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