Côte d’Ivoire: Laurent Gbagbo camp called a “cease-fire immediately”
LEMONDE.FR with AFP | 29.03.11 | 3:16 p.m. • Updated 29.03.11 | 10:00 p.m.
The forces of Alassane Ouattara rose on Tuesday, south of Côte d’Ivoire and the economic capital Abidjan, controlled by Gbagbo . REUTERS / Luc Gnago
On the second day of a major offensive in the camp of Alassane Ouattara – Chairman recognized by the international community – the other side, that of Laurent Gbagbo, has called on the evening of Tuesday, March 29 to a “cease-fire immediately” in Cote d’Ivoire , speaking through his spokesman, Ahoua Don Mello. “We have adopted a strategy of retreat. We hope the dialogue will open shortly, it is useless to go to battle to increase the number of victims ” , assured Mr Don Mello .
Ouattara forces advanced Tuesday to the south and the economic capital, Abidjan, controlled by the president. The towns of Duekoue, Daloa, Bondoukou Agnibilékrou and Abengourou are now in the hands of the elected president.
Clearly choosing the military option four months after the start of the post-election crisis, the camp Ouattara has thus continued a major offensive launched on Monday. “All peaceful avenues for bringing Lawrence Gabgbo to concede defeat are exhausted ” , said Tuesday Mr. Ouattara and his allies.
CAMP TAKES OVER SEVERAL CITIES OUATTARA STRATEGIC
Bouake, stronghold of Republican Forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara, their spokesman Seydou Ouattara said Tuesday they “control Daloa, Bondoukou and Agnibilékrou” . By late afternoon, residents of Abengourou, located 220 km from Abidjan, and Duekoue announced that the pro-Ouattara had taken these two cities.
A Duekoue, a strategic crossroads that leads in particular to San Pedro , the largest cocoa exporting port in the world, some people have indicated, however, that these manifestations of joy were limited to neighborhoods in favor of Mr. Ouattara. Tuesday morning, a source at the headquarters of the Defence Forces and Security (FDS), loyal to Mr Gbagbo said that “fighting continues in Duékoué” . “There are rebel incursions, they settled in districts favorable to them ” in Duekoue, but do not control the city and “it’s the same thing in Daloa” , the source said.
A UN helicopter MADE FOR TARGET
A helicopter of the UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), which was on a reconnaissance flight over the city would have “fired” from the pro-Ouattara Monday, according to UNOCI, which condemned ” the strongest attack against the peacekeepers is a war crime ” .
Forces Alassane Ouattara, however, denied being the source of the shots. “We know very well the helicopters UNOCI, so we do not shoot them,” said Seydou Ouattara. “That can only come militias and mercenaries (supporting Gbagbo) in stampede in forests ” , he added.
ABIDJAN, CIVILIANS KILLED BY THE PRO-Gbagbo
In addition, UNOCI Tuesday accused members of the pro-Gbagbo to have opened fire on civilians. “forces loyal to President Gbagbo fired on innocent civilians on Monday afternoon in Williamsville (sector district ‘Adjame, north of the city) , making a dozen dead, ” said a statement from UNOCI.
According to the UN, a group of young pro-Gbagbo would also tortured a young man burned alive in the district of the Riviera. “Another group was brutally assaulted two officers UNOCI going about their business” , according to the text . UNOCI “condemns the wave of atrocities against civilians and such acts must not go unpunished,” she says.
Clashes between the two sides have already claimed more than 460 deaths according to the UN, plunging the country into civil war. While nearly one million people were displaced and 112 000 Ivorians have fled to Liberia, the UN is preparing for a large influx of refugees in Ghana.