Ivory Coast Insurgents Grab More Territory; Fears Of More Civilian Murders

Refugees gather in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. i

Refugees gather in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Emanuel Ekra/AP hide caption

toggle caption Emanuel Ekra/AP
Refugees gather in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Refugees gather in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Emanuel Ekra/AP

Update at 7:24 p.m. ET. UN Imposes Sanctions On Gbagbo:

The United Nations Security Council voted today to freeze the assets of the Ivory Coast's incumbent leader Laurent Gbago. The Security Council also barred him from traveling.

Bloomberg reports:

The UN's principal policy-making panel voted 15-0 to adopt a resolution that condemns Gbagbo's refusal to accept to the African Union's declaration that Alassane Ouattara is the lawful winner of the Nov. 28 presidential election. The text, drafted by France and Nigeria, demands an immediate end to attacks on civilians, calls on UN peacekeepers to "use all necessary means" to protect them, and tells security forces to recognize Ouattara's authority.

Update at 3:15 p.m. ET. Ouattara's Troops Move With 'Lightning Speed':

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells our Newscast desk that "troops supporting the widely recognized president-elect of Ivory Coast have seized the administrative capital and gateway to the main city, Abidjan. Allassane Ouattara's forces have moved with lightning speed, gaining significant military advances this week."

Ofeibea adds that "the fall of Yamoussoukro, with apparently no resistance, is a major symbolic blow to Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to leave office since last year's election."

And while "Gbagbo's camp appears determined to defend Abidjan," Ofeibea says, "he is rapidly losing his grip on other parts of Ivory Coast. In just 48 hours, Ouattara's forces have captured strategic towns in the west and in the east, and are now heading south towards the world's top cocoa-exporting seaport of San Pedro."

Update at 2:20 p.m. ET. Ouattara's Supporters Reach The Capital:

"Fighters supporting Ivory Coast's internationally recognized leader reached the capital [Yamoussoukro] Wednesday after seizing a dozen towns this week alone in a bid to install him in office after months of political chaos caused when two men claimed the presidency," The Associated Press says. "Alassane Ouattara's military spokesman confirmed that his forces had entered the capital of Yamoussoukro but said that pockets of resistance still existed."

Update at 11:05 a.m. ET. Gbagbo Calls For Truce: The AP reports a spokesman for Laurent Gbagbo is calling for a cease-fire and mediation. Ouattara's top diplomat to France rejected the demand, saying Gbagbo has refused all earlier chances to leave power. Earlier this month, Gbagbo urged all Ivorian civilians to help his security forces 'neutralize' suspected rebels.

Our original post:

The Guardian reports fighters loyal to Ivory Coast leader Alassane Ouattara have captured two more towns as they advance toward Yamoussoukro, the capital. The main city isn't as big as the commercial capital, Abijan, but it's a symbolic victory.

Reuters reports Ouattara fighters are attacking troops loyal to intransagent leader Laurent Gbagbo on all sides. They're pushing south toward the Atlantic Ocean coast and Abijan's port.

Ouattara is recognized internationally as the winner of Ivory Coast's presidential election last year. He can't take power because Gbagbo won't step down, claiming Ouattara stole the vote. Fighters loyal to both sides are getting more violent but UN peacekeepers in Ivory Coast blame Gbagbo's fighters for murdering civilians. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reported this week Gbagbo loyalists killed 10 civilians in an Abijan neighborhood that backs Ouattara.

Ouattara's representative to the UN, Youssoufou Bamba, claimed Gbagbo is carrying out a plan of ethnic cleansing and genocide. Bamba is urging the Security Council to strengthen the role of UN peacekeepers in his country.



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