Ivory Coast: Western-Backed Ouattara Rebels Outgun Government Forces, Take town in West near Liberian border using heavy weapons.


Agence France-Presse
March 6, 2011

Pro-Ouattara forces seize town in western I Coast: sources

Ivory Coast: Testing Ground For U.S.-Backed African Standby Force

Former rebels now loyal to presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara on Sunday wrested control of a town in western Ivory Coast from forces backing his rival, Laurent Gbagbo, sources from both sides said.

“There has been bitter fighting at Toulepleu,” local politicians told AFP.

“The New Forces (FN, ex-rebels) have taken the town,” they added.

“The rebels outnumbered our young people who are defending the town and who had to pull back.”

A source at the ex-rebels’ command confirmed the news.

“The town is entirely controlled by the FN,” he said.

And a source in Gbagbo’s Defence and Security Forces (FDS) also spoke of “heavy fighting with the use of heavy weapons” in Toulepleu Sunday.

Toulepleu is a large town near the border with Liberia, in an area that remained under the control of Gbagbo forces after a foiled 2002 coup bid against Gbagbo.

Since late February, fighting has resumed in western Ivory Coast between Gbagbo’s Defence and Security Forces, backed by militiamen, and ex-rebels of the New Forces now allied with Ouattara.
Five African leaders have been trying to find a way out of the standoff between to the standoff between the two rivals.


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