International

Ivory Coast Leader Prepared To Surrender?

Fighters loyal to Alassane Ouattara prepare ammunition in Abidjan on April 3, 2011. i i

Fighters loyal to Alassane Ouattara prepare ammunition in Abidjan on April 3, 2011. STR/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption STR/AFP/Getty Images
Fighters loyal to Alassane Ouattara prepare ammunition in Abidjan on April 3, 2011.

Fighters loyal to Alassane Ouattara prepare ammunition in Abidjan on April 3, 2011.

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Update at 6:33 p.m. ET: In Interview, Gbagbo Defiant

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton on Ivory Coast fighting

In an interview with French television, incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo said he won the election four months ago and said he's not going anywhere. The AP reports that he told LCI:

"I won the election and I am not negotiating my departure," Gbagbo said by telephone. The French channel said the interview was conducted by phone from his residence at 1730 GMT, and lasted about 20 minutes.

Update at 9:10 a.m. ET: Ivorian Ceasefire

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports intransigent Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo sent his foreign minister to the French embassy in Abijan today to negotiate a truce. Gbagbo's army chief says his fighters are laying down weapons, while the UN confirms it got the ceasefire request. Ofeibea tells NPR Newscasts talks continue about whether Gbagbo will surrender.

Our original post: There's a report from AFP Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo is preparing to surrender. There's another report from AP that forces loyal to his rival, Alassane Ouattara, have taken the presidential compound and that Gbagbo is entrenched there within a bunker.

The Telegraph says Gbagbo's army chief has requested a ceasefire from UN peacekeepers. The report hasn't been confirmed.

Morning Edition spoke with reporter Marco Chown Oved, who's in Abijian, Ivory Coast's commercial capital. Marco says the presidential compound is burning, following the terrific escalation in fighting since yesterday, including airstrikes. As Eyder wrote yesterday, with the authorization of the UN Security Council, UN and French troops began attacking Gbagbo forces who'd been attacking civilians. Marco says French helicopters has struck the presidential compound many times.

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