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  • Thursday, 16 December 2010
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Presidential Rivals' Forces Clash in Ivory Coast

Troops loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo try to disperse supporters of Alassane Ouattara in the popular Aboboa district of Abidjan, 16 Dec 2010
Photo: AFP

Troops loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo try to disperse supporters of Alassane Ouattara in the popular Aboboa district of Abidjan, 16 Dec 2010

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Fighting has erupted in Ivory Coast between soldiers loyal to incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo and forces backing presidential rival Alassane Ouattara.

Journalists tell VOA the two sides exchanged gunfire and artillery Thursday near the Abidjan hotel where Ouattara has his headquarters. They say the clashes broke out as pro-Ouattara demonstrators tried to leave the hotel for a planned march on the state television building.

Ouattara called on supporters to take to the streets Thursday in an effort to seize control of government buildings controlled by Gbagbo. Security forces fired tear gas, however, and used force to disperse marchers as they tried to assemble.

Journalists report at least three people have been killed in the violence.

Ouattara and Gbagbo both claimed victory in last month's presidential runoff election and both have named their own governments. The dispute has raised fears of a new conflict in Ivory Coast, eight years after the country's civil war.

On Wednesday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he is "deeply concerned" about the situation and warned that violence could reignite the war.

Ivory Coast's election commission named Ouattara the winner of last month's election, while the country's constitutional council gave victory to Gbagbo.

The United Nations, African Union and other international bodies have said Ouattara was the rightful winner and called on Gbagbo to hand over power.

The president, who retains the loyalty of the army, has shown no sign of giving in. On Thursday, a military spokesman appeared on state television, urging Ivorians not to take part in the pro-Ouattara marches.

Gbagbo has ruled the country since 2000. His term officially ended in 2005, but he has remained in office through repeated election delays.

Comments (7)

16-12-2010 David J Allieu (Sierra Leone)

The security forces in Ivory Coast should reliase that, they are paid from the taxes citizens paid not from Laurent Gbagbo's coffer

16-12-2010 Davelier Mustara (zimbabwe)

Prisiden Mugabe is calling for elections for mid @011 two years after disputed polls which led to the formation of the inclusive Government. The business sector and the generality of the vpeople are against early polls because of the abusive of human rights which charactarises such polls especially from the so cal;led liberators. This is what we are now witnessing in ivory coast because losers do not want to accept defeat however glaring it is.

16-12-2010 Kemoh

Gbagbo has been allowed to hold on to power illegitimately since 2005. He is therefore not a respecter of the elctoral system and democracy. If not removed by force he will stay as president forever. What a shame!

16-12-2010 Abubakar A.Kanneh (Liberia)

Why Africans leaders are not interested in the local people safety! Both Mr. Ouattara and Mr. Gbagbo claimed victory in last month's presidential. As a leader for the people and for the country good future! Both now both are save in their home ,while ordinary people are now under going the suffering for their own good. Please both current leaders of Ivory Coast, think of your people futures, and come up with peaceful solution for the people!

16-12-2010 (Sierra Leone)

It is not sufficient for the international community to keep denouncing Laurent Gbagbo's illegal grip on power, but they should put practical measures in place like deporting his embassadors in all member states.

16-12-2010 Oromticha (Europe)

These ignorants are shame for Africa. I wonder why the so called African leaders cannot learn from the past.

16-12-2010 Mudanye John (UGANDA - Kampala)

The UN and the African Union should take action now instead of waiting for a blood shed then rush to save the crisis. I think thereis too much mess that the present leader wants to conceal by refusing to relinguish the power. Gabagbo must be dislogded and investigate hisGenerals in the army. Ivory Cost belongs to the people of IVORY COSTand democracy must be given a chance. I am sure he is not the only best leader in that country.

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