Saturday, April 2, 2011

Côte d'Ivoire: Battle in Abidjan, Gbagbo cornered

Abidjan, Special Envoy - He promised to "braise" Abidjan before leaving office. Laurent Gbagbo will not have had the opportunity, the courage or the means. The Apocalypse announced turned to bust. Supporters, civilians and military, past president of Côte d'Ivoire were routed in a few hours by the forces of its rival, Alassane Ouattara, during the last phase of a lightning offensive that ended with taking almost complete Abidjan Friday, April 1, in the morning.

Admittedly, were still at dawn, the uncertain fate of neighborhoods where fighting is continuing and, especially, areas where the raiders gave them to their heart, which resulted from the day before the deployment of French forces from the "Licorne" in Zone 4, south of the city, home to many French people since the great waves of anti-French looting in November 2004.

While the pro-Gbagbo Patriots were busy looting or disappear in the wild, the battle was waged elsewhere in Abidjan, early conclusion of an offensive by the Republican Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (FRCI) pro-Ouattara, started in its operational part of four days earlier. These forces have been formed by Alassane Ouattara on the basis of the former Ivorian rebels, the Forces Nouvelles.

Since Monday, many columns were advancing from their stronghold in the north, headed the "comzones (area commander) historical movement founded in September 2002 after a failed coup attempt in which Lawrence Gbagbo has always attributed the authorship to Alassane Ouattara. It seems that Cherif Ousmane be found at the head of the first elements entered in Abidjan on Thursday in the wake of their decision the night before, Yamoussoukro.

The political capital in the center of the country, had fallen without a struggle, marked by the departure crash and gusts of weapons of any caliber of "theater commander" (Operation) pro-Gbagbo, Colonel Boniface Kouakou. This is one of the few senior officers, with commanders of the Republican Guard (GR), to continue to fight in Abidjan, while the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Firmin Détoh , had just announced his allegiance to Mr.

Ouattara on television this year. Yamoussoukro for politicians, was a symbolic target of the first order. For the military, the city was mostly contained to a service station. Immediately after taking at dawn, the elements of FRCI supported by anti-aircraft weapons that work wonders in this war where the intensity of the blasts is often more important than the skill of the shooters, were launched on the road to Abidjan.

Thus argued the pro-Ouattara forces in their march up the floor to the final confrontation with supporters of Laurent Gbagbo in Abidjan, chaining of sudden acceleration on roads increasingly lonely battle with spaced rest periods to collect men and equipment. Behind, they left in the conquered towns handles officials trying to implement government and networks of sympathizers armed trying to maintain order.

In Abidjan, the enemy seemed to have lost the battle before burst in his first shots. Militia, patriots, thugs had spawns a multitude of dams, the activity that has been better controlled by supporters of Laurent Gbagbo during these months of crisis. Then in the day Thursday, the entire city has discovered the air war after experiencing one of fear and guerrilla mixed.

A crossing of Abidjan could see a few passers advancing along the roadside, hands. FRCI of sleeper cells and elements of the "commando invisible" pro-Ouattara had gone into action and took control of parts of the city before the arrival of former rebels, who converged on Abidjan progressing on several fronts .

In the afternoon, they advanced to the residential district of Cocody. Around 10 o'clock in the evening on national television, RTI, was taken. His final newscast, supposed to host a speech by Laurent Gbagbo, was the most bizarre, mixing trailers for upcoming episodes of "Desperate Housewives" on a videotape showing Amateur - without sound - the incumbent president in the middle a final four of the faithful, including his wife, Simone Gbagbo, chatting with forced smiles outside the residence of head of state, in Cocody.

These images are, obviously, were not recent. Then the black had done on the screen ... In the course of the night, gathering steam rallies in the Ivorian army. The majority of items as their officers had long been tempted to join the camp Ouattara, but the courage or the organization they had hitherto been lacking.

The side of President Ouattara, we do not sulk in taking the accounts of these rallies of the twenty-fifth hour, affecting, as a good source, "80% of officers." To see what the Ivory Coast has dropped thanks to the offensive flash, he had circulated the day before the final hours of the scheme, between Yamoussoukro, which had just fallen, and Abidjan, which was preparing for the final battle.

On the outskirts of the capital, dams were erected. Civilians armed with machetes, sometimes with automatic weapons, including watching the very few vehicles as wreckers watching for ships approaching the rocks at water level. Around Yopougon, the stronghold of Laurent Gbagbo is expected to come from where the majority of the thousands of volunteers that distributions of weapons were promised in the coming days, heavy fire from the city police were directed against a car coming just to escape the skimmers bitumen, which advanced to justify their attempts to rob the traveler, the need to "defend the Ivory Coast against France." In the end, the slogans have been the power that the fig leaf of state violence delegated to the lowliest of the inhabitants of Côte d'Ivoire.

But where are hiding, conversely, the tenor of the scheme? Laurent Gbagbo seems to be out of the presidency in the night, bound for an unknown destination, while the land borders, sea and air of the Cote d'Ivoire have been closed by Alassane Ouattara and the UN took control of Abidjan airport.

Some politicians are hiding, knowing that the accidents are just individual victims. A senior interior ministry admits the phone: "I'm holed up at home." Kadet Bertin, one of the "securocrats" of Laurent Gbagbo, who is recovering from a car accident, pretends not be concerned about the situation: "I am a rugged, I am not aware of anything," before hanging up abruptly.

Jean-Philippe Rémy Article published in the edition of 02.04.11

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