Forces loyal to Ivory Coast presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara stormed the bunker where Laurent Gbagbo was defying efforts on Wednesday to force him to cede power, a spokesperson for Ouattara told Reuters.
“They are in the process of entering the residence to seize Gbagbo,” Affousy Bamba said. “They have not taken him yet, but they are in the process. They are in the building.”
France, the former colonial power, said fighting was under way around Gbagbo’s residence in Abidjan but that French troops in the city were not involved. A French government source said that fighting began after Gbagbo showed he was unwilling to negotiate with mediators trying to persuade him to leave.
“He is not sincere in his willingness to negotiate his departure,” the source said, adding that French forces were not taking part in on-the-ground fighting at the residence.
Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo is still in contact with international representatives about a possible surrender even though his residence is under attack, UN peacekeeping department spokesman Nick Birnback said late Wednesday.