News / Africa

France Gathers Citizens in Ivory Coast

French troops patrol a street in Abidjan on April 1, 2011
French troops patrol a street in Abidjan on April 1, 2011

France has started rounding up its citizens in Ivory Coast's main city, Abidjan, in anticipation of heavy fighting between forces of rival presidents.

The French foreign ministry says citizens are being brought together at three protected sites around the city.  They include a French military camp in Port Bouet, the Wafou hotel in the south and the French embassy in the north.

There are roughly 12,000 French citizens in Abidjan.  French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said Sunday that officials are considering a mass evacuation, but no decision has been announced.

France also said Monday that it is sending another 150 troops to help protect civilians in Abidjan.  That will bring the total number of French troops in Ivory Coast to about 1,650.

On Sunday, French forces took control of the Abidjan airport.  

This, after weekend battles continued between forces loyal to internationally recognized President Alassane Outtara and incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo.

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