Pro-Ouattara fighters advance in I.Coast
Abidjan: Forces backing internationally recognised president Alassane Ouattara seized a fifth town in western Ivory Coast as strongman Laurent Gbagbo bolstered his army with new recruits.
The two rivals are locked in a bitter stand-off for the presidency after the disputed November 28 presidential poll, and violence between their armed forces has soared as the stalemate nears the four-month mark.
The UN Security Council has said a mortar attack by Gbagbo forces which killed some 30 civilians "shall not remain unpunished" and a dire humanitarian situation is worsening daily as thousands flee their homes.
The Ouattara-aligned New Forces (FN), a former rebel group which controls the country`s north since a failed coup attempt in 2002, on Monday pushed further into the cocoa-producing west of the world`s top producer of the bean.
"The rebels entered Blolequin at 0400 (GMT) after intense fighting," a member of the militia fighting for Gbagbo said.
The FN military spokesman, Seydou Ouattara confirmed the news, saying: "We were attacked in Doke... we pushed them back towards Blolequin and currently we have taken Blolequin and are busy sweeping the area."
They are no further than 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the town of Duekoue, a key crossroads where roads head north to Guinea, west to Liberia, east to the political capital Yamassoukro and south to San Pedro - the world`s largest cocoa exporting port.
Ouattara`s administration Monday urged the UN to "immediately resort to legitimate force" to protect civilians caught in post-poll violence.
"Given the magnitude and urgency of the situation... (the) government requests the Security Council to adopt a UN resolution to authorise the immediate use of legitimate force to protect civilians in imminent danger," a statement said.
In Ivory Coast`s main city Abidjan, thousands of fervent Gbagbo supporters waited to enlist in his Defence and Security Forces (FDS) after a call to join the fight.
In a ceremony in front of the headquarters, FDS chief Philippe Mangou urged the volunteers to give their contact details.
"We will call you when the time is right," he added, an indication that the new recruits would not be immediately integrated into the armed forces.
"I answered the call of `General` Ble Goude. I am ready to die for my country and drive out the rebels," said Shoemaker Theodore.
Goude, Gbagbo`s fiery youth minister known as "The General of the Streets" for his ability to draw and stir up massive crowds, on Saturday urged men and women "willing to die for their homeland" to enlist and "free Ivory Coast from these bandits".
A spokeswoman for Ouattara said the call to arms was a sign of Gbagbo`s increasing desperation.
Observers have questioned the quality of the training and weapons for the new recruits, who are unfamiliar with military discipline or the law of war, as the UN estimates at least 440 have already died in the violence.
Gbagbo`s forces have been accused of possible crimes against humanity for the massacre of up to 30 civilians on Thursday in a market in Abobo, a Ouattara stronghold that has become the epicentre of the violence.
Pressure is mounting on the 10,000-strong UN mission in Ivory Coast to take stronger action to enforce its mandate to protect civilians, who are bearing the brunt of the bloody tug-of-war for the presidency and fleeing the violence in their thousands.
The UN refugee agency estimates some 500,000 have been internally displaced since the post-election violence erupted.
Neighbouring Liberia has received some 90,000 refugees, which the poor country recovering from its own civil war is ill-equipped to deal with.
"We are very worried because we who must protect others are as vulnerable as those we must protect," said Milton Hoid of the immigration services in the Liberian border town of Gborplay.
"We don`t even have the equipment necessary to communicate... in case of emergency."
A report from the UN humanitarian office on Monday said there was a funding shortfall of 25 million dollars in Ivory Coast.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- One year of Modi govt: PM promises to fulfil aspirations
- Watch: Mumbai cops find new secret agents in housewives!
- DNA: Sikh man in New Zealand removed his turban to help injured kid
- Hundreds die as heat wave continues in India
- 2G scam: Ex-TRAI chief alleges Manmohan Singh had warned him to cooperate
- Pranab Mukherjee defends Bofors scam, says it was just a media trial
- DNA: AIIMS doctor removes both kidneys of minor, claims she had only one
- Growing medical negligence in Delhi's AIIMS
- Salman Khan attends sister Arpita's wedding reception in Mandi
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- Zee Media Exclusive: Vidya Balan chats about 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani'
- Para athlete Deepa Malik complains of callous service by Air India
- Smriti Irani visits Amethi, promises to pay insurance money to 25,000 women
- One year of Modi govt: Amit Shah addresses media
- Mumbai Film City shoot-out: CCTV footage help police arrest assailants
- One year of NDA govt: PM Modi writes open letter to nation, promises to transform India
- World optimistic about India: PM Narendra Modi on 1 year of NDA govt
- MSBSHSE Class 12th HSC results 2015 to be declared at 1pm tomorrow
- Arpita-Aayush wedding reception: Salman Khan spreads love in Mandi, says `hum aapke hain`
- Bharatiya Janata Party lacks majority for Ram Temple, Article 370: Amit Shah
- Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at one year of Modi govt, wishes 'happy birthday' to 'suit-boot ki sarkar'
- AAP govt moves resolution against MHA notification: As it happened
- Heatwave kills 90 more in Andhra, Telangana; toll crosses 800
- UBSE Results 2015 (ubse.uk.gov.in): Uttarakhand 12th Result 2015 to be announced today at 11 AM
- Gujjars adamant on holding talks in Bayana; rail tracks remain blocked
- CBSE 10th result to be declared tomorrow
- CBSE Class X Board Results 2015 to declared tomorrow
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- Salman Khan's `Bajrangi Bhaijaan` teaser to be out in two days?
- What couldn't be done in last 10 years, NDA govt did in one year: Smriti Irani in Amethi