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Published: Monday, 4/4/2011

Ivory Coast fighters loyal to Ouattara enter Abidjan in final thrust for the presidency


ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Forces backing internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara entered Ivory Coast’s largest city Monday in a final offensive to try and take the country’s economic capital more than four months after the election.

Residents in two different districts in northern Abidjan reported seeing truckloads of soldiers advance into the city.

Alain Lobognon, a close adviser to Ouattara’s prime minister, confirmed that the general offensive had begun Monday afternoon.

International observers and governments around the world backed the results issued by Ivory Coast’s electoral commission that showed Ouattara had won the November presidential election, but entrenched leader Laurent Gbagbo has refused to give up power after a decade in office.

The two men have vied for the presidency for months, with Ouattara using his considerable international clout to financially and diplomatically suffocate Gbagbo. After the final round of diplomatic efforts had failed, forces backing Ouattara launched a dramatic offensive last week, seizing control of the administrative capital and other towns before heading toward Abidjan.

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