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Ouattara's forces take Ivorian capital

March 30, 2011 at 12:06 PM   |   Comments

YAMOUSSOUKRO, Ivory Coast, March 30 (UPI) -- Forces loyal to Ivory Coast leader Alassane Ouattara have entered the capital, Yamoussoukro, residents said Wednesday.

Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of last year's presidential election, has been gaining ground against incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, the BBC said, but Gbagbo holds Abidjan, the former capital and largest city.

Ouattara's fighters have been advancing in two offensives from their northern bases. In the west, they are reported to have captured Daloa and Duekoue, while in the east, they say they have taken the city of Bondoukou.

Gbagbo's spokesman said the army was staging tactical withdrawals.

The United Nations, which supports Ouattara, said young Gbagbo supporters are continuing to attack civilians in Abidjan. The youths are reportedly being enlisted in the army to replace soldiers who have deserted or defected.

Ouattara has lost patience with diplomatic efforts to persuade Gbagbo to cede power four months after losing the election.

"All the peaceful routes to lead Laurent Gbagbo to admit his defeat have been exhausted," he said in a statement released Tuesday.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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