Final assault on I.Coast strongman's bunker: French source

6th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Forces loyal to Ivory Coast's Alassane Ouattara launched a final assault Wednesday on the bunker where his rival is holed up and were trying to take him alive, a French government source said.

The source added that negotiations to persuade Laurent Gbagbo to surrender had failed after Ouattara decided that Gbagbo was merely playing for time.

"He therefore decided to intervene militarily to try and resolve the problem, to capture Gbagbo alive, the source said.

"Gbagbo was still refusing to sign a document recognising Ouattara's (presidential election) victory... and Ouattara concluded that he was not being honest," the source added.

Weapons fire erupted at Gbagbo's residence as forces backing Ouattara, Ivory Coast's internationally recognised leader, said they were going to "fetch" him from his bunker.

Witnesses said gunfire rang out both near the presidential palace and Gbagbo's residence in an apparent bid to push him into ending his decade-long rule of the former French colony in West Africa.

© 2011 AFP

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