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October 23, 2021

Ivory Coast: Besieged Gbagbo ‘in basement’ of residence

UN and French helicopters attacked targets around the compound.

ABIDJAN – Ivory Coast’s defiant President Laurent Gbagbo is sheltering with his family in the basement of his surrounded Abidjan residence, a senior military source has told the BBC. Troops loyal to Mr Gbagbo’s rival, UN-recognised President Alassane Ouattara, say they have surrounded the compound.

Pro-Ouattara forces said earlier they had already overrun the residence in the West African country’s main city. UN and French helicopters attacked targets around the compound on Monday. Mr Gbagbo has refused to leave office even though the Ivorian election commission declared him the loser of November’s run-off vote, and the UN certified the result. The BBC’s Andrew Harding has spoken to a senior military source on the western edge of Abidjan, where hundreds of pro-Ouattara troops are gathered. The source told our correspondent they had completely surrounded the presidential residence and that Mr Gbagbo and his family were in the bunker. The claim is unconfirmed. Pro-Ouattara forces say there are a number of non-uniformed militiamen firing at them from buildings as they try to advance through the city. Mr Ouattara’s representative in Paris, Ali Coulibaly, told French media earlier that Mr Gbagbo had been negotiating his exit.

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