After Ouattara forces attempted to starve and force out disgraced leader Laurent Gbagbo, he has come back with a counter-attack:
Forces loyal to Ivory Coast incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo have stepped up a counter-attack on presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara by firing on his hotel headquarters in Abidjan. But residents in the besieged Ivorian commercial capital on Sunday came out in numbers not seen in the past 10 days due to heavy fighting, taking advantage of a lull in the bloodshed to replenish their food and other supplies. Rebel forces seeking to install Ouattara, who won an election last November according to results certified by the United Nations, swept from the north to coastal Abidjan almost unopposed more than a week ago.
But despite a fierce rebel onslaught, Gbagbo’s soldiers have held onto swathes of the city, and are now growing bolder. The U.S. State Department condemned the attack on Ouattara’s hotel, saying in a statement that Gbagbo’s perceived attempts at negotiation last week were nothing more than a ruse to regroup and rearm. “Gbagbo’s continued attempt to force a result that he could not obtain at the ballot box reveals his callous disregard for the welfare of the Ivorian people, who will again suffer amid renewed heavy fighting in Abidjan,” the State Department said.
But even if Gbagbo leaves, Ouattara’s ability to unify the West African country, the world’s No. 1 cocoa producer, may be undermined by reports of atrocities against civilians since his forces, a collection of former rebels from the north, charged into Abidjan. Ouattara’s camp has denied involvement. A U.N. spokesman in Abidjan said Saturday’s attack on the Golf Hotel, which Ouattara has made his base since the election, involved heavy weapons that appeared to have been fired from Gbagbo’s heavily defended residence.
“This was not a fight, but a direct attack by Gbagbo’s forces, who fired RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) and mortar rounds, from positions near Gbagbo’s residence, at the Golf Hotel,” said U.N. spokesman Hamadoun Toure. He said one U.N. peacekeeper had been hurt, and that U.N. forces had responded by firing on those positions. Gbagbo’s spokesman Ahoua Don Mello denied that Gbagbo’s forces had attacked Ouattara’s headquarters and said the incumbent leader was calling on his supporters to mount resistance against French forces.
SMH. These dudes are going hard…dropping RPGs and ish????