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

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
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.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs