French troops move towards Gbagbo's Abidjan residence

April 11, 2011 14:21

ABIDJAN - A column of about 30 French armored vehicles was seen advancing from one of Abidjan's main boulevards towards the residence of Ivory Coast's incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo on Monday, a witness told Reuters.

"The vehicles are advancing and there are (French) soldiers behind with an helicopter hovering above," said Alfred Kouassi, a resident who lives in a high-rise building overlooking the boulevard.

"We can hear automatic gunfire," he said.

A French military spokesman in Abidjan said the aim of the operation was to avoid a "bloodbath" but declined to give further details.

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