Charity: 1,000 massacred in Ivory Coast town

Go down

Charity: 1,000 massacred in Ivory Coast town

Post  Terrestrial on Sat 02 Apr 2011, 15:55

(CBS/AP) ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - An offensive aiming to unseat Ivory Coast's strongman appeared to encounter resistance Saturday, as soldiers loyal to the entrenched ruler seized back the state television station and broadcast a call to arms.
In a televised address on Saturday morning, Laurent Gbagbo's military spokesman Lt. Col. Alphonse Guano called on security forces to report for duty and to resist attacks by fighters loyal to internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara.

A disheveled TV announcer said Gbagbo was at his residence Saturday and that it had not been attacked.

In just five days, the force aiming to install the democratically elected Ouattara had succeeded in taking nearly 80 percent of Ivory Coast, before entering Abidjan and encircling both the presidential residence and the palace.

The battle for the country's most important city has come at a terrible price. On Tuesday, the day after Ouattara's forces took the western town of Duekoue, intercommunal fighting broke out, killing at least 800 people, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Patrick Nicholson, spokesman for the Roman Catholic charity Caritas, told The Associated Press that Caritas workers visited one neighborhood in Duekoue that was filled with bodies of victims killed by gunshots and hacked to death with machetes. He estimates the death toll was as high as 1,000.

It's unclear if Ouattara's forces were involved in the attack, and Duekoue has been the scene of communal violence before. Ouattara's government Saturday denied their fighters were involved in any atrocities, and blamed the killings on Gbagbo forces acting as they retreated.

Overnight, the shooting near the palace and the residence died down, suggesting that the armed group had been pushed back. A fighter with Ouattara's forces, Boubacar Drame, said they were waiting for reinforcements.

Gbagbo's Europe-based adviser Toussaint Alain told reporters in Paris that Gbagbo is still in his residence "like Sarkozy at the Elysee and Obama at the White House," referring to the French and U.S. presidents.

However, Gbagbo's whereabouts could not be confirmed Saturday and the phones of his close aides rang unanswered.

And a resident living near Gbagbo's residence in Abidjan's Cocody neighborhood said that at around 9 a.m. the shooting restarted after a mostly quiet night.

"I am just 1 kilometer from the residence. There are volleys of shots," said Yeo N'Dri.

Heavy machine-gun fire erupted just after noon at one end of the lagoonside highway leading to the palace, around two city blocks from the gate of the presidential compound.

An adviser to Ouattara who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the press said the loss of the TV station was a setback, but that Ouattara's forces were still at both the residence and the palace and were readying for battle.

He said Ouattara told him fighters had surrounded the palace but that they stopped shooting to give Gbagbo time to surrender overnight.

"He said there has been too much blood," said the adviser. "Ouattara does not want for Gbagbo to die. But he also said that patience has a limit."

Gbagbo, 65, has not been seen in public since the offensive began, but those in his inner circle said Friday he was still in Abidjan and would fight until the end. Ouattara has ordered land and sea borders closed to seal all the exits in case Gbagbo attempts to flee.

Ouattara's victory with 54 percent of the vote in last November's election was recognized first by the country's electoral commission and then by governments around the world. Leaders from U.S. President Barack Obama to French President Nicolas Sarkozy have made personal appeals to Gbagbo to step down.

At least 1,500 foreign nationals have taken refuge since the offensive began at the French military base in Abidjan, said Cmdr. Frederic Daguillon, spokesman for the French forces in Ivory Coast.
avatar
Terrestrial
Forum Expert
Forum Expert

Posts : 269
Join date : 2010-08-05
Age : 47
Location : Beograd,Srbija

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum