About 1,100 foreigners leave Abidjan: French army

7th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

More than 1,000 foreigners have been flown out of Ivory Coast's main city Abidjan since Sunday amid an armed siege around the presidential palace and residence, France's military said Thursday.

"Since the beginning of the operation on Sunday, 1,091 have left, including 315 on Wednesday," said the spokesman for the French force Licorne (Unicorn) Frederic Daguillon.

He said on Wednesday there were still 1,548 foreign citizens being sheltered at Licorne's military base. The majority of those trying to leave are French.

Operations to gather together French citizens continue, but many remain trapped in dangerous areas, and have not been evacuated.

Before the evacuations France had 12,200 citizens in Ivory Coast, 11,800 in Abidjan.

Abidjan has been rocked by heavy fighting, sending the city of five million into lockdown as internationally recognised president Alassane Ouattara's army attacks his rival Laruent Gbagbo's bases, trying to storm a bunker where he is hiding under his residence.

Gbagbo, who has ruled Ivory Coast for a decade, is refusing to surrender and recognise his arch-rival as the rightful winner of November elections.

© 2011 AFP

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