Ivory Coast: Gbagbo grabs bank in power struggle

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The Independent Online

Incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo has ordered the seizure of the central bank's regional offices in Ivory Coast in an attempt to retain control of state finances after being cut off from the money after disputed elections.

His rival Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised winner of the presidential election two months ago, condemned the move.

As the crisis drags on, the two men vying for power in Ivory Coast have increasingly tried to step up the financial pressure on one another. Earlier this week, Mr Ouattara called for a one-month ban on cocoa exports from the country, which is the world's largest cocoa producer. Without access to government funds, it's unclear whether Mr Gbagbo will be able to continue paying the country's military and security forces. Mr Ouattara supporters hope that by stemming the flow of funds to Mr Gbagbo's government they can force a mass defection.

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