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Updated: April 5, 2011 19:40 IST

Ouattara forces seize Ivory Coast president's home

AP
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Internationally recognised Ivory Coast President Alassane Dramane Ouattara. File photo: AP.
Internationally recognised Ivory Coast President Alassane Dramane Ouattara. File photo: AP.

The diplomat also said that Laurent Gbagbo’s closest adviser and long-time friend had abandoned him, leaving the bunker to seek refuge inside the French ambassador’s home. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Forces trying to install Ivory Coast’s democratically elected leader seized the presidential home on Tuesday and a senior diplomat said fighters were trying to coax the entrenched strongman out of a bunker.

The diplomat also said that Laurent Gbagbo’s closest adviser and long-time friend had abandoned him, leaving the bunker to seek refuge inside the French ambassador’s home. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

However, a Paris—based lawyer who has represented Mr. Gbagbo’s government said his foreign minister, Alcide Djedje, had gone to the French Embassy to protest Monday’s attacks by French and U.N. forces.

“He has absolutely not resigned and is currently being scandalously held against his will” in the embassy, attorney Lucie Bourthoumieux said in a statement.

Forces aiming to topple Mr. Gbagbo more than four months after he lost the presidential election had succeeded in taking nearly the entire countryside last week. But they faltered once they reached the country’s largest city of Abidjan, where the presidential palace and residence are located.

On Monday, the United Nations and French forces opened fire with attack helicopters on Mr. Gbagbo’s arsenal, as columns of foot soldiers allied with his challenger finally pierced the city limit.

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