Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Dozens of UN peacekeepers still held by Syrian jihadists

    Read more

  • Opposition protesters clash with Pakistani police outside PM's house

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

Africa

UN, French forces open fire on Gbagbo troops in Abidjan

Video by Aude Soufi

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-04

UN forces opened fire on Laurent Gbagbo's forces Monday to prevent them from using heavy weapons against civilians and peacekeepers. The operations, supported by French troops, follow consistent reports of attacks on civilians and peacekeepers.

AP - A United Nations helicopter fired at President Laurent Gbagbo’s forces on Monday as France authorized its military forces to take out his heavy weapons, an unprecedented escalation in the international community’s efforts at forcing the strongman from office.

The office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had requested France’s military participation. Gbagbo lost presidential elections in November but refused to cede power even as his nation teetered on the brink of all-out civil war.

The helicopter fired on Gbagbo’s troops at about 5 p.m. local time (1700 GMT) to prevent them from using heavy weapons at the Akouedo camp in Abidjan, said the spokesman for the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Spokesman Nick Birnback told reporters in New York that Gbagbo’s forces have consistently used heavy weapons against civilians and peacekeepers in recent days. He says the action was taken according to the mandate the mission has from the U.N. Security Council.

The attacks on Gbagbo positions marked a dramatic escalation in the offensive to oust the strongman who has refused to cede power for more than four months since he was declared the loser of the presidential election.

Frederic Daguillon, the spokesman for the French force Licorne protecting civilians in Ivory Coast said earlier Monday on France-Info radio that the total French military presence in the former French colony is 1,650.

Meanwhile, fighters backing democratically elected leader Alassane Ouattara entered Abidjan by the truckload Monday afternoon as part of a final offensive to take the last piece of the West African country still largely controlled by Gbagbo.

Residents in two different districts in northern Abidjan reported seeing soldiers advancing into the city. Thousands of troops had been amassing outside Ivory Coast’s commercial capital since last week, readying for the final battle to topple Gbagbo and install Ouattara.

Alain Lobognon, a spokesman for Ouattara’s defense minister, confirmed by telephone that the general offensive had begun Monday afternoon.

Their target is the presidential palace and the mansion where Gbagbo is believed to be holed up. Both are located on the edges of a lagoon in the heart of the country’s biggest city.

Explosions came from the city’s downtown core, in the direction of the palace and a large military base. Machine gunfire erupted on the lagoonside highway just two blocks from the palace.

International observers and governments around the world backed the results issued by Ivory Coast’s electoral commission showing Ouattara had won the November presidential election, but Gbagbo refused to give up power after a decade in office.

The two men have vied for the presidency for months, with Ouattara using his considerable international clout to financially and diplomatically suffocate Gbagbo.

After the final round of diplomatic efforts had failed, forces backing Ouattara launched a dramatic offensive last week, with forces loyal to him seizing control of the administrative capital and other towns before heading toward Abidjan.
 

Date created : 2011-04-04

  • IVORY COAST

    Gbagbo defiant as Ouattara prepares ‘final offensive’

    Read more

  • IVORY COAST

    Hundreds killed by Ouattara troops at Duekoue, UN says

    Read more

  • IVORY COAST

    Abidjan locked in tense standoff, France mulls evacuation

    Read more

COMMENT(S)