On Wednesday, forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara stormed the presidential palace in an attempt to oust Laurent Gbagbo. The fighting lasted several hours, but then stopped. The embattled leader had taken refuge in a bunker at the palace along with his family.
Fighters who support Ouattara’s claim to rule, are now in control of most of Ivory Coast. After talks between Gbagbo and the UN failed, troops stormed the president’s residence in Abidjan. Gbagbo is claiming the attack was an assassination attempt, but Ouattara’s people strongly deny trying to kill him.
Bamba-Arnault Sogona who is spokeswoman for Alassane Ouattara based in France said: “It’s true that Mr Ouattara asked for Mr Gbagbo to be arrested, but he was to be taken alive. Mr Ouattara is against impunity. He said there won’t be any impunity under his mandate, and anyone who commits violent acts will be arrested, judged and punished.”
Earlier in the week, the UN launched airstrikes against Gbagbo positions in Abidjan. Their forces were not involved in the attack on the presidential palace. Even though French tanks are on the streets of Abidjan, they also deny taking part. However, Gbagbo has accused France of turning against him.
The leader has refused to step down from the presidency since losing to Ouattara in elections in November. Gbagbo claims he did win, though the UN is backing results which show a victory for his rival.