Abidjan has become the latest battleground between President Laurent Gbagbo and the man internationally recognised as the rightful president of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara.
Forces loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo, including men known as Young Patriots, are being urged to put down their weapons and join the opposing side. Armed with guns supplied by the army and even machetes, the men say they are not backing down in defence of the country’s largest city.
One Young Patriot preparing to fight said: “The fun is over. Now we’re putting our hearts into it because we’re at war.”
President Gbagbo’s strongholds are confined to the south of the country. However, now that the key port city of San Pedro is in opposition hands, the president may find it harder to stay in power.
Gbagbo’s army chief, Phillipe Mangou, has reportedly defected and is seeking refuge in the home of the South African ambassador.
In addition, more outside pressure is being applied. On Wednesday, the UN Security Council voted for more sanctions against Gbagbo’s circle.
Alassane Ouattara, is calling on those loyal to Gbagbo to change sides now to avoid further bloodshed, as his supporters continue to make gains.
Fighting breaks out in Ivory Coast's biggest city