UN Evacuates Ivory Coast, French Move In

Ouattara loyalists ready last push against Gbagbo
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2011 11:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – As forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara prepared a final push to drive Laurent Gbagbo from power in Ivory Coast, the UN was evacuating some 200 staffers from its oft-targeted headquarters in Abidjan. And as the UN moved out, an additional 300 French forces moved in, reports the AP, claiming control of Abidjan's airport under the auspices of the UN's peacekeeping mission. The airport was re-opened to military and civilian air traffic.

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A pro-Gbagbo television station urged residents to revolt against the French "occupation," adds the BBC. But various reports show his grip on power is slipping: "We are currently experiencing in Abidjan a security vacuum because the Ivorian security forces, which until now followed the orders of Mr Gbagbo, answered in great numbers the rallying call made by President Ouattara," says a French defense ministry spokesman. (Read more Ivory Coast stories.)

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