Abidjan remains a city on the edge

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Abidjan remains a city on the edge

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Ivorians continue to stream out of Abidjan a day after former president Laurent Gbagbo was taken into custody.

The city’s residents have been trapped in their homes for the last 10 days with little food or water as fighting raged.

Many are too scared to stay.

Reports suggest street fighting is continuing with Gbagbo militia still at large in the city and snipers taking pot shots at passers by.

This resident of Abidjan explains the difficulties:

“The risk is that Gbagbo still has supporters, which is normal. In Africa we are organised by ethnicity, by region, by tribe and the regions and the tribes still exist. So rage and anger are still present.”

In his first speech since Gbagbo’s arrest, Alassane Ouattara, the winner of last November’s disputed election, called on his compatriots to “abstain from all forms of reprisal and violence.”

That will be easier said than done as ethnic hatred has festered during Ouattara’s drawn out dispute with Gbagbo, particularly in the west where hundreds of people on both sides of the conflict have perished.