Ivorian militiamen have begun surrendering their weapons to the country’s new government in the Abidjan suburb of Yopougon, the last stronghold of fighters loyal to deposed president Laurent Gbagbo.
AFP - Diehard fighters loyal to Ivory Coast's deposed president Laurent Gbagbo began surrendering arms Friday to the forces of the country's new government.
Around 50 fighters, members of a pro-Gbagbo militia group holed up in Abidjan's Yopougon district, gave up their rifles, rocket launchers and grenades to the troops of the country's new President Alassane Ouattara.
"This ceremony marks the end of the pocket of resistance in Yopougon. Residents asked not to use force to resolve the situation because they would be the first victims," said Eugene Djue, one of the remnant militia leaders.
Hundreds of government troops kept watch during the ceremony also attended by United Nations peacekeepers.
"Ivory Coast has seen so much bloodshed. It's too much and should stop. There is a time for war and a time for peace and we now have peace," said Philippe Mangou, Gbagbo's army chief who has pledged allegiannce to Ouattara.
The vast Yopougon neighbourhood in northwestern Abidjan is the last militia stronghold after Ouattara took power following Gbagbo's arrest on April 11.
Government forces on Wednesday killed militia leader Ibrahim Coulibaly in the northern Abobo district after Ouattara threatened to use force to disarm militia groups.
Abidjan, a city teeming with arms
Since Friday, joint patrols that include the French forces of “Operation Licorne” and soldiers from the pro-Ouattara Republican Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (FRCI) have been in charge of securing the city of Abidjan.
In the neighbourhood of Abobo, the task is carried out by soldiers who receive their orders from Major Mamadou Konaté (pictured far right).
Grenades, machine guns and mortar shells: all types of arms can be found in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Abidjan.
These anti-tank shells belonged to supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo.
Many cases of 7.72 mm bullets have already been seized.
Gbagbo loyalists were firing 14.5 mm bullets like the ones in this picture from heavy machine guns fixed to the back of pick-up trucks.
Many rifles have been seized.
Pictured alongside these machetes, a French-made Cougar grenade launcher.
Date created : 2011-04-30