Ivory Coast’s cornered Laurent Gbagbo is under siege in his residence in Abidjan after his troops fended off yesterday’s attack by his rival’s forces.
But although Alassane Ouattara’s men were repelled by soldiers and remnants of Gbagbo’s heavy weaponry, they claim to have re grouped and are waiting to try again.
Many of Gbagbo’s soldiers are now prisoners. But despite that, Gbagbo is still refusing to acknowledge that Ouattara won November’s presidential election.
France is losing patience as its Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told parliament: “The negotiations between Laurent Gbagbo’s entourage and the Ivory Coast authorities that lasted for hours yesterday have failed because of Laurent Gbagbo’s intransigence. So they have been interrupted and President Ouattara has decided to ask his military forces, the Republican Forces, to resume the offensive against the presidential compound,” he said.
It was French and UN air strikes which brought months of fighting to a head. Ostensibly there to protect civilians, France also has 12,000 nationals in the country. But as the standoff continues Paris has stressed its troops are not involved.