Rebels' gains threaten return to all-out war in Ivory Coast

Loucoumane Coulibaly,Charles Bamba,Reuters
Saturday 26 February 2011 01:00

Rebels controlling northern Ivory Coast have seized a town in government territory and said yesterday they were still advancing, raising the prospects of a return to open war.

Forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, who is still clinging to power after an election most of the world says he lost, confirmed the fall of Zouan-Hounien in an overnight attack and said they would fight to take it back.

"We're in the process of reorganising ourselves," Yao Yao, head of operations of the pro-Gbagbo Front for the Liberation of the Greater West said.

The small, remote town lies in western Ivory Coast near the forested border with Liberia and is in the "confidence zone" that has separated the rival sides since an attempted coup against Gbagbo in 2002. The fighting there comes after a week of growing violence in the world's biggest cocoa producer.

Ouattara Seydou, a spokesman for the rebel New Forces, said they had been attacked from Zouan-Hounien and were moving south to another town held by Gbagbo loyalists.

Ethnic tensions in Ivory Coast spiralled after November's election, which Gbagbo's rival Alassane Ouattara is widely recognised to have won.

Gbagbo, in power for more than a decade, has refused to cede the presidency of the once wealthy country, which has been split between north and south since the failed coup led to a civil war. African Union efforts to end the crisis through diplomacy have made no headway.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in