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Fierce fighting rages in Cote D'Ivoire

04-02-2011 08:15 BJT

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Fierce fighting has spread across Abidjan, the capital of Cote D'Ivoire, as troops loyal to incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo fended off attacks by forces supporting Alassane Ouattara's rival claim to the presidency.

Cote d'Ivoire has been plunged into a turmoil, since Gbagbo refused to quit after a November 28th election that UN-certified results showed he lost.

The country's capital has transformed into a war zone.

The heaviest clashes were centered around the state television station, which went off the air after it was attacked by pro-Ouattara forces overnight.

The boom of heavy weapons fire rang out constantly from near Gbagbo's residence and presidential palace, as well as two major military bases.

Forces supporting Ouattara, who has been recognized as the winner of the November election by African nations and Western powers, marched into Abidjan on Thursday after a swift push south that initially met with little resistance.

But they now face Gbagbo's most reliable fighters, the roughly 2,500-strong elite Republican Guard, clustered in Abidjan along with the remaining regular army troops.

Figures for dead and wounded over the past two days were unavailable.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission did not intervene. But it said its headquarters were fired on by Gbabgo's special forces on Thursday. UN peacekeepers returned fire in response to the attack.

Ouattara's camp earlier delivered Gbagbo an ultimatum to step down quickly and peacefully.

But Gbago's spokesman said the incumbent's surrender was"out of the question".

However, Gbagbo has been hit by a number of high-level defections in the military, including the head of his armed forces.




Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CNTV.CN

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