UN, French armoured vehicles patrol downtown Abidjan: AFP
Around ten armoured vehicles carrying French soldiers and UN peacekeepers patrolled the conflict-hit suburb of Plateau in Abidjan Thursday, home to strongman Laurent Gbagbo's presidential palace, AFP journalists saw.
Ground patrols of this nature have been rare since the beginning of the battle for Abidjan a week ago, as the administrative district remained under tight control by Gbagbo's forces.
The outgoing president was still holed up in a bunker underneath his residence in the northern suburb of Cocody, refusing to surrender power to his arch-rival, the internationally recognised president Alassane Ouattara.
Ouattara's forces were pushed back Wednesday when they attempted to storm Gbagbo's home to prise him from the bunker, after negotiations for his departure failed.
© 2011 AFP