News / Africa

Residents Report Fighting Near Ivory Coast Presidential Palace

Smoke rises from the city center of Abidjan, Mar 31 2011
Smoke rises from the city center of Abidjan, Mar 31 2011

Residents in Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan say heavy fighting has broken out near the presidential palace, as fighters opposed to incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo move through the city.

Rebels backing the country's internationally recognized president, Alassane Ouattara, are also reported to be involved in fighting near the headquarters of the state-run television.  Reuters news agency says the state television has gone off the air.

Ouattara forces have swept across Ivory Coast this week, seizing cities and towns and facing only minor resistance from Mr. Gbagbo's security.

Earlier Thursday, United Nations peacekeepers took control of the Abidjan airport, while France said its peacekeepers are patrolling parts of Abidjan where looting broke out.

South Africa said Mr. Gbagbo's army chief of staff and his family sought refuge Thursday at the Abidjan home of the South African ambassador.

The United States, the United Nations, former colonial power France and officials with Mr. Ouattara's government all issued calls Thursday for Mr. Gbagbo to step down.

Mr. Gbagbo has resisted pressure to give up power since Mr. Ouattara was declared the winner of last November's presidential election.

Mr. Ouattara's government issued a statement Thursday, saying it has imposed a nighttime curfew in Abidjan and ordered the closure of all the country's borders.

In an earlier statement broadcast on his private television station, Mr. Ouattara called on Gbagbo loyalists to switch sides.  His aides predicted Thursday evening that Mr. Gbagbo could fall from power within hours.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is closely following the situation, and he urged all parties to avoid harming civilians.  He reiterated a demand that Mr. Gbagbo immediately cede power.

The United Nations said Thursday that at least 494 people have been killed since the political crisis began in early December.  It says up to one million people have been displaced, with thousands fleeing west to Liberia or east to Ghana.

Mr. Ouattara has spent most of the last four months in an Abidjan hotel, protected by U.N. peacekeepers but surrounded by pro-Gbagbo security forces.

November's disputed election was meant to reunite Ivory Coast, nearly a decade after a brief civil war left it split into a rebel-controlled north and a government-controlled south.  

The U.N. Security Council has approved sanctions against Mr. Gbagbo, including a travel ban and asset freeze on him, his wife and three key aides."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid