Friday, April 8, 2011

Ivory Coast's defiant ruler surrounded, but he still won't give up

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast -- An armed group trying to install the Ivory Coast's internationally recognized president surrounded a bunker that the defeated incumbent refuses to leave, saying they will wait for him to come out.

Laurent Gbagbo remained defiant Thursday, even after air strikes hammered his military bases and his residence, where he is holed up with his wife in a tunnel. Via a spokesman in Paris, Gbagbo continued to insist that he had won November's election.

"I reached the head of state and his wife less than an hour ago, and no -- he will not surrender. President Gbagbo will not cede," his adviser Toussaint Alain said.

Gbagbo has refused to accept defeat even though he was declared the loser, both by his country's electoral body and by international observers, including the United Nations.

After four months of diplomacy, his opponent Alassane Ouattara, who is internationally recognized as having won the election, gave the go-ahead for a military intervention led by fighters from a former rebel group. Ouattara had pleaded with the international community for months to intervene and remove Gbagbo by force.


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