Ouattara forces begin Abidjan assault

April 4, 2011 16:52

ABIDJAN - Forces backing Ivory Coast presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara began a fresh assault to remove Laurent Gbagbo from his last stronghold in Abidjan on Monday.

As the conflict escalated, France ordered more troops into the West African country to protect civilians.

A convoy of several dozen vehicles containing heavily armed pro-Ouattara troops and outfitted with mounted machine guns entered Ivory Coast's main city at midday, the first elements of a large force that had massed on the northern outskirts for what they called a "final assault", according to a Reuters eyewitness.

Heavy machine gun fire and a few explosions could be heard minutes after they entered the city limits.

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