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Gbagbo forces strike Ouattara base

Gbagbo forces strike Ouattara base
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In Ivory Coast the hotel housing presidential claimant Alessane Ouattara has come under heavy arms fire from forces loyal to rival Laurent Gbagbo.

The United Nations, which has been protecting Ouattara since November’s poll which the body says he won, returned fire, but avoided the bunker where Gbagbo is believed to be.

The exchange is further evidence of the counter-offensive Gbagbo’s men began on Friday, just when it appeared his defeat was imminent.

The UN say they had used a relative calm while negotiations with Gbagbo were ongoing to regroup and regain control of areas of the city that had fallen to Ouattara.

However other parts, including, crucially, the port and the airport, are now under UN control.

The development could see vitally needed supplies finally reaching the city’s beleagured residents.

Since Saturday passenger planes have returned to the airport – providing some with an escape route from the country.