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Latest update : 2011-02-04

Ivory Coast's 'Young Patriots', forever loyal to Gbagbo

Ivory Coast is sinking deeper into political crisis since the November presidential poll. On one side, Alassane Ouattara, declared winner by the independent electoral commission, and recognised by the international community. On the other, incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who can count on the support of the "Young Patriots" movement.

More than two months after Ivory Coast’s presidential election, the country is still deep in a political crisis. Dozens of people have been killed in recent weeks. The outside world says the winner of the election is Alassane Ouattara. But on the ground it’s his rival Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent, who’s in the presidential palace, and Ouattara who lives entrenched in a luxury hotel in the country’s main city of Abidjan.

Gbagbo controls the administration, the army and the state media. The regional block ECOWAS has said that as a measure of last resort it will intervene militarily to dislodge Gbagbo. In Ivory Coast the army and the radical pro-Gbagbo youth movement, the Young Patriots, say they will staunchly defend the incumbent president.

France 24's reporters Nicolas Germain and Matthieu Mabin witnessed the deadly clashes between the security forces loyal to Gbagbo and the pro-Ouattara supporters. They also saw how the Young Patriots are recruiting more youths; how they are getting prepared for a possible military intervention.

Their leader, Charles Blé Goudé, is organising numerous rallies. He’s a controversial character, who’s under UN sanctions for his violent anti-France speeches in recent years.

France 24 went to explore the links between the army and the Young Patriots, and understand why they say they are ready to die for Gbagbo.

By Nicolas Germain , Matthieu MABIN



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