Pro-Ouattara forces reach Ivorian capital

Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:43pm GMT

Another group of pro-Ouattara fighters, largely made up of former rebels who have controlled the north since a 2002-3 civil war, took control of Soubre, the last main town on the road to the cocoa port of San Pedro.

"The Republican forces took the town without any resistance," said Madou Kone, a resident.


Meanwhile, pro-Gbagbo youths killed seven civilians when they opened fire in a pro-Ouattara neighbourhood of Abidjan, witnesses said.

"The youths arrived this morning. Some were wearing masks, some combat fatigues. They fired at random on people on the side of the road," Badou Jean, a market trader who witnessed the incident, told Reuters after he fled with his family.

As the fighting has intensified, about 30,000 Ivorians and West African migrants have been forced to seek refuge in an overcrowded Catholic mission in the town of Duekoue with little or no access to food, water or health facilities, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said.

Thousands more have sought shelter in public buildings and at least 112,000 have crossed into Liberia to the west.

A Reuters reporter on the road east out of Abidjan said hundreds of cars were clogging roads heading out of the city.

Until the push south this week, the worst of the violence had centred on Abidjan, where anti-Gbagbo insurgents, who do not necessarily support Ouattara, have seized parts of town.   Continued...

<p>Pro-Ouattara fighters from a group which calls itself the "invisible commandos" stand on a street in northern Abidjan's Abobo district March 26, 2011. REUTERS/Luc Gnago</p>
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