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Defeat of pro-Gbagbo militia sparks complex responses in Yopougon

05-06-2011 15:49 BJT

ABIDJAN, May 6 (Xinhua) -- After militiamen loyal to ex-strongman Laurent Gbagbo were defeated in the Yopougon district in Cote d'Ivoire's economic capital Abidjan, local residents are torn between those who feel relieved and others who feel worried.

Yopougon was taken by the Cote d'Ivoire Republican Forces (FRCI) allied with president-elect Alassane Ouattara this week, marking the fall of Gbagbo's last stronghold of resistance since his arrest on April 11.

Some residents who were interviewed on Thursday by Xinhua expressed joy after the defeat of pro-Gbagbo militia.

"This place was like a prison. For over one month, we were confined in our houses. Some tried to escape due to insecurity and even those who took refuge in churches were living in deplorable conditions," said Benard Allou, a retired civil servant in Yopougon.

"Now that I can see transport vehicles moving freely and businesses re-opening, I feel great. We have come from far," the retired civil servant added.

However, other residents expressed fears over the ongoing operation by FRCI officers to comb through some areas within the district to chase away any remnants and mercenaries.

"The pro-Ouattara forces are entering in people's houses and insisting that they are looking for weapons or militia. In most cases, they are just going to the houses of supporters of the Presidential Majority (LMP, the pro-Gbagbo political movement). I hope that they do not want to victimize us," said Roland Dogbo, a local LMP official.

Besides security, health is another worry for the residents of this district. In the aftermath of the deadly clashes that led to the defeat of the pro-Gbagbo militiamen by the FRCI, dead bodies are seen lying in the streets and some have started rotting.

"We are afraid of the air that we are breathing, for the water we are drinking. The dead bodies are now part of our daily environment. The Red Cross has already done so much and we hope that they will help more by collecting these bodies," said Clementine Ndjore, a restaurant owner whose business has been paralyzed for almost two months.

Cote d'Ivoire began a new chapter of her history with the arrest of the country's former strongman by forces loyal to Ouattara.

On Thursday, the president of the country's Constitutional Council, Paul Yao Ndre, declared Ouattara as the winner of the Nov. 28 presidential election and his swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for Friday.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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