Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fighting Rages on in Cote d'Ivoire

In Ivory Coast, heavy fighting continued on Tuesday in Yopougon between forces loyal to President Alassane Ouattara and militiamen loyal to former President Laurent Gbagbo even as he was said to have accepted his loss of power. The military operation was launched Monday by pro-Ouattara forces to crush the last pocket of resistance remaining after the militias turned down a call from Ouattara to disarm or face force.

The new violence erupted after a delegation of mediators led by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan completed a two-day visit to Ivory Coast intended to encourage reconciliation and healing. Annan was joined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland. Dozens of bodies littered the streets of a neighborhood in Abidjan on Tuesday with an official at the International Committee of the Red Cross, saying the group had recovered 40 bodies in two hours.

Meanwhile, former Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo's hearing in an investigation of the toppled president and his associates for acts of violence has been delayed until Friday according to a prosecutor. Gbagbo was due to appear today but his lawyers said they were not ready. Gbagbo was arrested on the 11th of April with his wife and roughly 100 loyalists following a raid on his home in Abidjan by pro-Ouattara forces. He is being detained in the north of the country.

International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Tuesday that he will soon ask for authorisation to launch a formal investigation into crimes against humanity in Ivory Coast.

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