Archive for the ‘Ivory’ Category


Mr Moreno-Ocampo met Prime Minister Guillaume Soro shortly after arriving
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has arrived in Ivory Coast to investigate the country’s post-election violence.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo will meet victims as well as government and opposition representatives during his visit.

About 3,000 people were killed and 500,000 displaced in months of unrest following the November 2010 poll.

Forces loyal to both President Alassane Ouattara, and his rival, Laurent Gbagbo, have been accused of abuses.

Mr Ouattara took power in early May following a five-month stand-off with Mr Gbagbo, who had refused to accept defeat.

House arrest
 
Mr Moreno-Ocampo said he “thanked the government for the invitation” to make the visit, after meeting Prime Minister Guillaume Soro on his arrival.

“We’d like to help Cote d’Ivoire to move ahead,” he told reporters, adding that “we will be impartial.”

Earlier this month, ICC judges gave Mr Moreno Ocampo the go-ahead to undertake an inquiry.

At the time of the decision, they said there was evidence to suggest that troops loyal to both sides had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

November’s vote was intended to fully reunify the country, split in two after a civil war in 2002.

Ivory Coast – the world’s largest cocoa producer – used to be seen as a haven of peace and prosperity in West Africa.

But under the surface, the country has long been deeply divided along ethnic, religious and economic lines.

Mr Gbagbo, who ruled for over a decade, is under house arrest and has been charged with looting, armed robbery, and embezzlement.

He refused to accept defeat in the presidential poll, despite the UN declaring Mr Ouattara – his long-time foe – the winner.
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BBC

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Forces backing Ivory Coast’s internationally-recognized president Wednesday renewed their assault on the country’s incumbent president after he refused to admit electoral defeat and surrender.

Forces supporting Alassane Ouattara waited more than one day while French and United Nations officials tried to convince incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo’s to give up power.

But Gbagbo refused to acknowledge that he lost November’s presidential election.  So pro-Ouattara forces renewed their attack on Gbagbo’s residence and the presidential palace in what they say is a final push to end this four-month political crisis over Ivory Coast’s presidency.

U.N. and French attack helicopters destroyed heavy weapons at Gbagbo’s residence and his main military barracks Monday. Gbagbo allies say those forces were also involved in Wednesday’s fighting as part of what they call an assassination attempt against Gbagbo – an allegation the French officials denied.

The U.N. mission in Ivory Coast says it is acting to defend civilians and peacekeepers in line with its Security Council mandate. Ouattara forces say they are under orders to capture Gbagbo alive.

His refusal to accept an offer from the West Africa regional alliance for a safe and dignified exit is the latest and perhaps one of the last acts of defiance from Gbagbo.  The incumbent leader chose instead to remain in an underground bunker, refusing to back down from his claim that he was re-elected when the constitutional council annulled as fraudulent nearly ten percent of all ballots cast in his run-off election with Ouattara.

Ouattara’s claim to the presidency is based on electoral commission results certified by the United Nations.

Hundreds of people have died since fighting began in December, including many civilians. The U.N. is investigating reports of mass killings last week in a western province near the Liberian border.

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Ouattara-Forces-Attack-Gbagbo-Home-in-Ivory-Coast-119313329.html


Troops loyal to Alassane Ouattara set up a checkpoint in Abidjan, 6 April 2011 Troops loyal to Alassance Ouattara have been told not to kill Laurent Gbagbo
Forces opposed to Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo have launched a final assault on his presidential residence.

He has been negotiating departure terms with the UN while under siege by troops loyal to his rival Alassane Ouattara.
But France’s foreign minister said talks had failed, blaming Mr Gbagbo. Gunfire and fighting have been heard at Mr Gbagbo’s residence in Abidjan.
Mr Gbagbo insists he won November’s run-off vote, but election officials found Mr Ouattara was the winner.
That result was certified by the UN, but Mr Gbagbo has refused to leave office.
Mr Gbagbo and his family are believed to be sheltering in the bunker of the presidential residence, which was controlled by his troops.
Two days of heavy fighting stopped late on Tuesday and negotiations with Mr Gbagbo carried on throughout the night.
But by Wednesday morning it appeared the patience of pro-Ouattara forces had run out.

Supporters of Laurent Gbagbo in detention at the Golf Hotel, Abidjan (6 April 2011) Some of Mr Gbagbo’s supporters have been rounded up by Ouattara’s forces

“We are going to get Laurent Gbagbo out of his hole and hand him over to the president of the Republic,” said Sidiki Konate, spokesman of Mr Ouattara’s prime minister, Guillaume Soro.
In Paris, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Mr Gbagbo’s “intransigence” had caused talks to fail.
“The conditions set by President Ouattara are very clear: he demands that Laurent Gbagbo accepts his defeat and recognises the victory of the legitimately elected president,” he told parliament.
“That’s where we stand today, so sadly the arms have begun to talk again.”
French and UN troops are attempting to maintain security around Abidjan under the terms of a UN Security Council resolution, but Mr Juppe said they were not involved in the offensive against Mr Gbagbo.
‘In the building’

At the scene

Laurent Gbagbo, cornered in a presidential bunker and faced with the defection of his generals, had been trying to negotiate his way out of trouble.
His surrender seemed imminent. “I want to live,” he told French television.
But over the past few hours we have heard the boom of heavy artillery in the city and confirmation that Mr Gbagbo’s residence is being stormed.
A negotiated ending might have helped ease tensions in this bitterly divided country. Now there is the risk of greater instability.
Civilians still trapped in Abidjan say there has been sporadic gunfire across the city with pro-Gbagbo militias still on the streets and growing fears of revenge killings.

Affousy Bamba, a spokeswoman for troops backing Mr Ouattara, told Reuters news agency: “Yes they [Ouattara forces] are in the process of entering the residence to seize Gbagbo.

“They have not taken him yet, but they are in the process, they are in the building.”
A resident who lives close to Mr Gbagbo’s residence told Reuters of fighting and explosions.
“We can hear automatic gunfire and also the thud of heavy weapons. There’s shooting all over the place,” Alfred Kouassi said.
A spokesman for Mr Ouattara said fighters had been given strict instructions not to harm Mr Gbagbo.
The BBC’s Andrew Harding near Abidjan says the UN wants Mr Gbagbo to leave unharmed in order not to destabilise the country further. Mr Gbagbo still has strong support, having won 46% of the vote in the election, he adds.
Speaking by phone to French radio, Mr Gbagbo – sounding defiant – denied he was hiding in a bunker.
“I am in the residence – the residence of the president of the republic. Now, when it rains, can’t one take shelter inside one’s house?”
Mr Gbagbo had earlier denied he was surrendering, saying he was only negotiating a truce.
“I won the election and I’m not negotiating my departure,” he said.
The BBC’s John James, who is outside Abidjan, says it feels like it is the “endgame” for Mr Gbagbo. But the ideal situation would be a deal that would allow economic activity to resume and for the people of Ivory Coast to resume some sort of normal life, he adds.
On Monday pro-Ouattara fighters, backed by UN and French helicopters attacked Mr Gbagbo’s military installations in Abidjan, saying they aimed to protect civilians.

Ivorian turmoil

  • 28 November: Incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and challenger Alassane Ouattara in election run-off
  • 2 December: Electoral commission announces that Ouattara has won
  • 3 December: Constitutional Council declaring Gbagbo the winner; UN says Ouattara was victor
  • 30 March: Pro-Ouattara forces enter the capital, Yamoussoukro
  • 4 April: UN launches air strikes on Gbagbo in main city, Abidjan
  • 5 April: Three generals negotiate Gbagbo’s surrender
Following Tuesday’s ceasefire the city passed a largely quiet night, apart from shootings blamed on gangs, but its population of four million remained indoors.

Civilians told the BBC they were very scared. Small groups have been walking out of the city with their hands raised in the air.
In other developments, the EU imposed fresh sanctions on Mr Gbagbo on Wednesday, banning the purchase of bonds from his “illegitimate government”.
Last November’s election was intended to reunite Ivory Coast which split in two following a northern rebellion in 2002.
The electoral commission pronounced Mr Ouattara the victor, but Ivory Coast’s Constitutional Council said Mr Gbagbo had won.
The US, the UN and the EU recognised Mr Ouattara as the winner, but both candidates had themselves sworn in as president and a stand-off ensued.
Skirmishes and battles between the rival forces have since taken place across Ivory Coast, culminating in Mr Ouattara’s troops sweeping into Abidjan at the end of March.

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(CNN) — Forces loyal to Ivory Coast’s elected President Alassane Ouattara stormed the residence of his rival, Laurent Gbagbo, Wednesday, an Ouattara spokeswoman said, potentially heralding the end of a bloody conflict in the West African country.

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed_edition&videoId=world/2011/04/06/black.ivory.coast.update.cnn

The Ouattara forces are inside Gbagbo’s residence but have not captured him yet, Affoussy Bamba said from the main city, Abidjan. They discovered heavy weapons inside the residence, she said.

A spokesman for Gbagbo, Ahoua Don Mello, confirmed the residence was under attack and expressed amazement at the assault.

Gbagbo is prepared to discuss African Union proposals for a handover of power, but cannot talk about surrender before discussions even begin, Mello said.

He would not confirm Gbagbo is in the residence that is under attack, but said he was in Abidjan.

“They are trying to get him and to kill him,” Mello said.

U.N. attack helicopters could resume their operations on Wednesday, the head of U.N. peacekeeping operations, Alain Le Roy, told CNN’s Richard Roth. He said the helicopters would target heavy weapons that are being used by Gbagbo’s supporters at the presidential residence.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the cocoa-producing country since Gbagbo rejected the results of an election in November. The United Nations and the African Union have said Ouattara, a former prime minister, defeated Gbagbo, who was running for re-election.

What’s behind the conflict?

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called Gbagbo cowardly.

“I can’t understand why he is refusing to cede his power against the total will of the international community,” Ban said, urging the self-declared president to think about the future and the security of his people.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who has been closely involved with events in the former French colony, said negotiations with Gbagbo had failed because of his “obstinacy.”

Ouattara set the terms for Gbagbo’s surrender, Juppe said.

He told parliament in Paris that French forces were not involved in the assault on Gbagbo’s residence, rejecting claims by Gbagbo supporters.

A senior American source with knowledge of the situation also said negotiations had failed.

“The opportunity for negotiations with Laurent Gbagbo is over. He has closed the door on negotiations,” said the source, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Gbagbo “is an individual that did not accept he lost. That’s why we are here today,” the source said.

Analysis: Why Ivory Coast matters Video

Ouattara’s forces have steadily been closing in on Gbagbo in the past week, amid claims of massacres by both sides.

An Ouattara representative said Gbagbo had left them no alternative but to attack.

“Negotiations with Gbagbo have failed,” Mamadou Toure said as the assault began Wednesday. “Gbagbo decided not to surrender, so Ouattara’s forces were left with no other choice. The aim is to get him out of the residence without harming him.”

“President Alassane Ouattara will have to decide what happens next,” added Toure, who is at the country’s embassy in Paris and says he is in direct contact with Ouattara’s forces.

Gbagbo “will be brought to justice,” a different Ouattara representative told CNN Wednesday.

Gbagbo seemed to be on the point of surrender Tuesday after four months of conflict between his forces and those of Ouattara, but then he backtracked.

It “seems like he has lost his mind. … It means that there is something wrong with this guy,” Ouattara spokesman Patrick Achi said.

Ouattara’s side is appealing directly to Gbagbo’s fighters to put down their weapons, Achi said.

“We cannot sit and wait for him to become reasonable” in the face of the “humanitarian catastrophe” facing Abidjan, Achi said. The city of 5 million people had “no more electricity, no more sanitation and bodies on the street,” he said.

Read more on the GPS blog about the endgame for Ivory Coast

Ouattara’s forces entered Abidjan on Thursday after an offensive that swept across the country. When they arrived, the sporadic post-election violence that had plagued Abidjan for months escalated into war.

Ivory Coast’s ambassador to the United Nations said Tuesday he thought Gbagbo “knows everything is over for him.”

“His military forces have been defeated. He is alone now,” said Youssoufou Bamba.

Bamba said Gbagbo should go on trial “because he has committed so much crime” against civilian and peaceful demonstrators.

But Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who served as the African Union’s main negotiator in Ivory Coast, said Ouattara and others should consider allowing safe passage for Gbagbo to Angola, South Africa or another country.

International leaders from President Barack Obama on down have been demanding that Gbagbo step down immediately for the good of the country.

The political chaos and violence has claimed at least hundreds of lives. In one of the bloodiest incidents yet, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported the killings of 800 people last week in the western cocoa-producing town of Duekoue.

The plight of refugees fleeing Ivory Coast

Juppe said Wednesday that all that remained to discuss was how Gbagbo would leave.

“We have asked the U.N. to guarantee his physical wellbeing and that of his family, that’s an important point, and then to organize the conditions of his departure,” Juppe said on French radio. “That’s the only thing left to negotiate from now on.”

Gbagbo denied in an interview Tuesday that he planned to go down fighting, calling himself a man who “loves life.”

“I’m not a kamikaze. … I don’t look for death,” he told France’s LCI television.

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/04/06/ivory.coast.unrest/index.html?hpt=T1


The BBC’s Andrew Harding says news of a possible surrender has been greeted with “weary relief”
The UN says three generals loyal to Ivory Coast’s besieged President Laurent Gbagbo are negotiating terms for surrender in return for guarantees of safety for him and themselves.

France says negotiators are on the brink of agreeing his departure.
Mr Gbagbo is sheltering with his family in the basement bunker of his residence in the main city, Abidjan.
Troops loyal to Mr Gbagbo’s rival, UN-recognised President Alassane Ouattara, say they have surrounded the compound.
The UN says Mr Gbagbo’s military and civilian advisers are leaving him.
Three of his generals – the head of the armed forces, the head of the police and the head of the republican guard – have opened negotiations, the UN told the BBC’s Andrew Harding, who is on the outskirts of Abidjan.
The UN said the generals had instructed their forces to stop fighting and hand in their weapons to the UN.
‘War is over’

Laurent Gbagbo (file photo - 4 February 2011) Mr Gbagbo refused to cede power after the UN said his rival won elections last year

Mr Gbagbo’s spokesman, Ahoua Don Mello, told the Reuters news agency there were “direct negotiations based on African Union recommendations which said Alassane Ouattara is president”.
“They are also negotiating judicial and security conditions for Gbagbo’s camp and his relatives,” Mr Don Mello said.
“We are very close to convincing him to leave power,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told the National Assembly in Paris.
However, Mr Gbagbo denied he was ready to surrender. In a telephone interview with the French LCI television channel, he again insisted Mr Ouattara did not win the election in November.
“The army has called for the suspension of hostilities… and it is currently discussing the conditions of a ceasefire with the other forces on the ground, but on a political level, no decision has yet been taken,” he told LCI.
The deputy commander of the pro-Ouattara forces, Cisse Sindou, told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme: “We won the battle. Gbagbo is with the French. He is negotiating how to leave the country.”
Mr Gbagbo had refused to leave office even though the Ivorian election commission declared him the loser of November’s run-off vote, and the UN certified the result.
Forces loyal to Mr Ouattara, a former International Monetary Fund economist, began a dramatic military offensive last week, sweeping in from the north and west.
US President Barack Obama has condemned the violence, saying it could have been averted if Mr Gbagbo had respected the election result.

Ivorian turmoil

  • 28 November: Incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and challenger Alassane Ouattara compete in election run-off
  • 2 December: Electoral commission announces that Mr Ouattara has won
  • 3 December: Constitutional Council overturns results, declaring Mr Gbagbo the winner; UN recognises Mr Ouattara as the victor
  • 2 February: European Union extends sanctions against Mr Gbagbo
  • 30 March: Pro-Ouattara forces enter the capital, Yamoussoukro, as fighting intensifies
  • 4 April: UN launches air strikes on Mr Gbagbo in the main city, Abidjan
  • 5 April: Three generals negotiate Mr Gbagbo’s surrender
“To end this violence and prevent more bloodshed, former President Gbagbo must stand down immediately,” Mr Obama said in a statement.

Our correspondent, Andrew Harding, says news of the surrender talks has been circulating rapidly.
It has not been greeted with excitement but with a weary sense of relief, he says, as people ask why Mr Gbagbo had to put them through so much war and destruction.
Many civilians remain trapped in their homes. Food, water and electricity are scarce in the city of about four million people after days of fighting.
Mr Gbagbo’s army chief, Gen Philippe Mangou, told the AFP news agency his troops had stopped fighting.
“Following the bombardment by the French forces on some of our positions and certain strategic points in the city of Abidjan, we have ourselves stopped fighting and have asked the general commanding [Unoci] for a ceasefire,” Gen Mangou said.
Gen Mangou deserted last week, but was said to have returned to the Gbagbo fold on Monday after an apparent change of heart.

A British man in Ivory Coast describes being trapped in his home with no hope of escape

Meanwhile, UN humanitarian chief Baroness (Valerie) Amos has visited the town of Duekoue, where hundreds of people died after it was taken by pro-Ouattara forces last week.
Each side has blamed the other for the killings, which the International Committee of the Red Cross says claimed at least 800 lives.
Baroness Amos said investigators found at least 200 bodies in a single mass grave, adding that it was not clear who was responsible for the deaths.
On Monday, UN and French helicopters attacked several targets around Mr Gbagbo’s compound. The UN said the raids were to stop attacks on civilians.
Patrick Achi, a spokesman for Mr Ouattara, told the BBC earlier that if Mr Gbagbo were captured, he would be arrested and “brought to justice”.

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The BBC’s Andrew Harding watched pro-Ouattara fighters head into Abidjan
Ivory Coast’s defiant President Laurent Gbagbo is sheltering with his family in the basement of his surrounded Abidjan residence, a senior military source has told the BBC.

Troops loyal to Mr Gbagbo’s rival, UN-recognised President Alassane Ouattara, say they have surrounded the compound.
Pro-Ouattara forces said earlier they had already overrun the residence in the West African country’s main city.
UN and French helicopters attacked targets around the compound on Monday.
Mr Gbagbo has refused to leave office even though the Ivorian election commission declared him the loser of November’s run-off vote, and the UN certified the result.
The BBC’s Andrew Harding has spoken to a senior military source on the western edge of Abidjan, where hundreds of pro-Ouattara troops are gathered.
The source told our correspondent they had completely surrounded the presidential residence and that Mr Gbagbo and his family were in the bunker. The claim is unconfirmed.
Mr Gbagbo’s spokesman told AFP news agency the incumbent president had not reached the point of surrender.
But Mr Ouattara’s representative in Paris, Ali Coulibaly, told French media earlier that Mr Gbagbo was negotiating his exit.

Ivory Coast: Battle for power

  • World’s largest cocoa producer
  • Once a haven of peace in West Africa
  • Ouattara recognised as president-elect in 2010
  • International sanctions imposed to force out Gbagbo
  • Hundreds killed, one million have fled
  • 9,000 UN peacekeepers monitor 2003 ceasefire
Forces loyal to Mr Ouattara, a former International Monetary Fund economist, began a dramatic military offensive last week, sweeping in from the north and west.

About four million civilians have been trapped by days of fighting and looting in Abidjan.
Patrick Achi, a spokesman for Mr Ouattara, told the BBC earlier that if Mr Gbagbo were captured, he would be arrested and “brought to justice”.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the raids launched on Monday evening against Mr Gbagbo’s arsenal were to stop attacks on civilians.
UN Mi-24 helicopters are reported to have bombarded five targets: Mr Gbagbo’s residence, a republican guard base, state television headquarters, the Akban paramilitary base and the Akouedo arms depot.
UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy said that a UN Security Council resolution authorised such action.
The use and calibre of heavy weapons by Gbagbo forces had, he said, escalated sharply in recent days.
The UN mission in Ivory Coast (Unoci) had also been under almost continuous attack, he said.

A resident in Abidjan says his house shook as the UN and French bombing raids took place

Mr Gbagbo’s spokesman told AFP news agency that the incumbent president had been “surprised” by the attacks, as he was still open to dialogue.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement he had authorised the 1,600-strong French Licorne force in the country to help the UN military response.
Ivory Coast gained independence from France in 1960, but has hosted French peacekeepers since its civil war almost a decade ago.
The French military says it has about 1,900 foreigners under its protection in Abidjan, and nearly 450 others have already left the country.
The UN has sent an envoy to investigate a massacre of hundreds of civilians in the western town of Duekoue last week.
Each side has blamed the other for the killings, which the International Committee of the Red Cross says claimed at least 800 lives.

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The BBC’s Andrew Harding watched pro-Ouattara fighters head into Abidjan
Forces loyal to Ivory Coast’s UN-recognised president say they have captured the besieged incumbent’s residence in the main city of Abidjan.

Alassane Ouattara’s spokesman said his troops had overrun the home of Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to step down though his whereabouts are unclear.
Heavy weapons fire rocked the city early on Tuesday.
Hours earlier, UN and French helicopters attacked targets around the presidential residence.
Mr Ouattara’s representative in Paris, Ali Coulibaly, told French media that Mr Gbagbo was now negotiating his surrender.
‘War of psychology’ Mr Gbagbo has refused to leave office even though the Ivorian election commission declared him the loser of November’s run-off vote, and the UN certified the result.
The BBC’s Andrew Harding, near Abidjan, says it looks like endgame for the incumbent president.

Ivory Coast: Battle for power

  • World’s largest cocoa producer
  • Once a haven of peace in West Africa
  • Ouattara recognised as president-elect in 2010
  • International sanctions imposed to force out Gbagbo
  • Hundreds killed, one million have fled
  • 9,000 UN peacekeepers monitor 2003 ceasefire
But he says the fighting has reached a new level of ferocity and there are reports pro-Gbagbo forces have seized two bridges in the city, which would suggest the battle is not all one way.

Forces loyal to Mr Ouattara, a former International Monetary Fund economist, began a dramatic military offensive last week, sweeping in from the north and west.
About four million civilians have been trapped by days of fighting and looting in Abidjan.
There is no confirmation of reports that pro-Ouattara forces have taken Mr Gbagbo’s compound.
“The residence is on many levels,” Patrick Achi, a spokesman for Mr Ouattara, told the BBC.
“People have seen that Gbagbo was in the residence, but they are still looking for him.”
Asked what would happen if Mr Gbagbo was captured, he said he would be arrested and “brought to justice”.
One of Mr Gbagbo’s advisers in London, Abdon George Bayeto, dismissed claims the residence had fallen.
“This is all propaganda and it is all a war of psychology,” he said.
Mattresses on windows On Monday evening, UN and French helicopters attacked Mr Gbagbo’s arsenal.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the raids were to stop attacks on civilians, not a declaration of war on Mr Gbagbo.
Residents living nearby shielded their windows with mattresses as explosions rocked the centre of Abidjan.
Several thousand pro-Ouattara fighters meanwhile entered the city from the north in a convoy of vehicles.

A resident in Abidjan says his house shook as the UN and French bombing raids took place

UN Mi-24 helicopters are reported to have bombarded five targets: Mr Gbagbo’s residence, a republican guard base, state television headquarters, the Akban paramilitary base and the Akouedo arms depot.
UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy said that a UN Security Council resolution authorised such action.
The use and calibre of heavy weapons by Gbagbo forces had, he said, escalated sharply in recent days.
The UN mission in Ivory Coast (Unoci) had also been under almost continuous attack, he said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement he had authorised the 1,600-strong French Licorne force in the country to help the UN military response.
Ivory Coast gained independence from France in 1960, but has hosted French peacekeepers since its civil war almost a decade ago.
The French military says it has about 1,900 foreigners under its protection in Abidjan, and nearly 450 others have already left the country, reports AFP news agency.
Post-election violence in Ivory Coast has left hundreds dead and forced up to one million people to flee.
The UN has sent an envoy to investigate a massacre of hundreds of civilians in the western town of Duekoue last week.
Each side has blamed the other for the killings, which the International Committee of the Red Cross says claimed at least 800 lives.

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