The Republican Forces (armed supporters of the winner of last November's election, Alassane Ouattarr) continue to battle for control of the nation's largest city. In the last 24 hours, the UN has responded to Gbagbo troops firing on civilians by ordering peacekeepers to attack Gbagbo bases and ammunition storage sites. After five days of fighting, there are growing food shortages as trucks avoid areas where there is a lot of gunfire. Incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo still has some of the armed forces defending him, along with some armed supporters from the south, but he is out numbered, cornered and apparently trying to make a deal. Republican Forces are closing in on the presidential palace and government buildings. Gbagbo representatives have been trying to arrange safe and comfortable exile for Gbagbo and his family (some of whom have been seen in neighboring Ghana.) While Gbagbo and his entourage might get away quickly, his much larger number of supporters (especially the ones with weapons) will still be around. The north-south disputes in Ivory Coast will take a lot longer to resolve, and there will be violence.
Investigators are trying to sort out who did what to who in the western town of Duekoue last week. There, between March 27-9, a force of men armed with guns and machetes, killed over 800 people. The killings took place as the Republican Forces made their way south, encountering little resistance. Between last November's election and March 26, 450-500 people had died in sporadic violence.
April 4, 2011: General Phillippe Mangou Mangou (the head of the pro-Gbagbo army) left his asylum and apparently went back to work for Gbagbo. Five days ago, Mangou took his wife and five children and apparently sought asylum at the South African embassy.
April 3, 2011: French troops took control of the airport at Abidjan, making it easier to evacuate foreign citizens. In Ghana, police have arrested over 70 Gbagbo supporters who crossed the border with their weapons. Ghana does not want armed men crossing the border, and is sending more troops to the frontier area near the ocean. Ghana is the closest foreign territory to Abidjan, where the final battle for control of Ivory Coast will take place. In Abidjan, three days if heavy fighting appeared to end, replaced by occasional gunfire and a lot of movement of troops and supplies.
April 2, 2011: In Abidjan, pro-Gbagbo forces recaptured a bridge leading to the Presidential Palace, making it easier to defend Gbagbo, who is using the palace
April 1, 2011: Republican forces briefly seized control of the state operated TV network. But within hours, pro-Gbagbo forces had retaken control of the TV facilities.
March 31, 2011: Republican Forces roll into Abijan, the commercial capital (since 1983). Resistance from pro-Gbagbo forces is light at first, apparently because so many Gbagbo supporters out in the countryside had quietly switched, leaving Gbagbo supporters in Abijan someone blind to who was heading for the city, and how fast. As word got around that the Republican Forces were in the city, general Phillippe Mangou Mangou (the head of the pro-Gbagbo army) took his wife and five children and apparently sought asylum at the South African embassy.
March 30, 2011: Republican Forces roll into Yamoussoukro, the administrative capital (since 1983). Republican Forces immediately departed for Abijan, 240 kilometers to the southwest, the commercial capital (since 1983.) Actually, Abijan still contains many national government bureaucracies, and is the largest city (over 5 million) in the country. Resistance from pro-Gbagbo forces increased between Yamoussoukro and Abijan. Nothing serious, but the Gbagbo loyalists would delay the advancing Republican Forces for several hours at a time, and then flee.
The UN imposed more economic and travel sanctions on Gbagbo and key allies,