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Ivory Coast : Laurent Gbagbo's downfall
Ivory Coast illegal president Laurent Gbagbo's ousting is imminent, as he is now holed up in an Abidjan bunker below the presidential palace, which is being taken by rival forces. “[Ouattara's forces] are in the process of entering the residence to seize Gbagbo,” Ouattara's spokeswoman Affoussy Bamba declared. “They have not taken him yet, but they are in the process. They are in the building.”
As he did not resign despite the ultimatum he was presented by democratically-elected president Alassane Ouattara, Laurent Gbagbo is now surrounded.
Blé Goudé, leader of Gbagbo's Young Patriots, is one of the few political figures
who still support Laurent Gbagbo
Ouattara's forces are now controlling more than three-quarters of the country, and entered Abidjan, forcing Gbagbo's most faithful soldiers to retreat. The UN envoy in Côte d’Ivoire reported 50,000 policemen and gendarmes forsook Gbagbo after his army chief sought refuge at the residence of the South African ambassador in Abidjan. Ouattara's goal is actually to take the last piece of the West African country, still largely controlled by Gbagbo.
The French peacekeeping army in Ivory Coast (Force Licorne), though not involved on the ground in this final assault at the presidential palace, intervened by bombing Laurent Gbagbo's positions in Abidjan with heavy artillery. Gbagbo's government consequently accused the former colonial power of attempted murder against the dictator. Gbagbo's representative Toussaint Alain said that "France will be held responsible for the death of President Gbagbo, his wife and family members and all those who are inside the residence, which is being bombarded by the French army”. However, Alassane Ouattara's forces and France insisted that they wanted Gbagbo alive.
Alassane Ouattara ordered his troops to keep Gbagbo 'alive'
Long-standing opponents Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara had been running for the 2010 presidential election for months. It was finally won by Mr Ouattara with 54 percent of the vote. However, Laurent Gbagbo refused to admit his defeat, paving the way for a dramatic escalation of violence, which has since resulted in a countless loss of lives.
Using his considerable international financial and diplomatic support, especially from France and the USA, Ouattara mobilized troops to evict Gbagbo. As he has almost achieved his goal, his major concern is now to know how the population, including Gbagbo supporters, will accept the fact that he came into office by taking arms. What else could he have done?