Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opposition in Ivory Coast Seizes Capital

The rule of Ivory Coast’s strongman, Laurent Gbagbo, took another blow on Wednesday as the country’s administrative capital fell to forces loyal to his rival, Alassane Ouattara, with little resistance.

The battle for the country’s presidency appeared to be entering a decisive phase. By late afternoon, Mr. Ouattara’s troops were patrolling the streets of the capital, Yamoussoukro, to welcoming greetings and celebratory gunfire from citizens, two residents there said. Meanwhile, Mr. Ouattara’s prime minister, Guillaume Soro, delivered an ultimatum to Mr. Gbagbo on French radio and television, saying he had only “several hours” to give up power.

Spokesmen for Mr. Ouattara, the man recognized internationally as the winner of elections last November, said the taking of Yamoussokrou had been accomplished with hardly a shot fired — another easy victory in a week when Mr. Gbagbo’s forces appeared to be crumbling from east to west in the West African nation. (read more)