Fewer than 1,000 fighters remain loyal to besieged Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said on Thursday.
“Today, at the moment, former president Gbagbo’s forces are reportedly a bit less than 1,000,” Longuet said, adding that 200 of these fighters are at the presidential residence in the country’s main city, Abidjan, where the strongman is holed up and refusing to cede power.
Forces loyal to the internationally recognized winner of last year’s presidential election, Alassane Ouattara, are besieging Gbago’s residence.
“In Abidjan, UNOCI (UN mission in Ivory Coast) has around 2,250 men, out of a total 10,000 in Ivory Coast. France has increased Licorne to 1,700, President Ouattara’s tactical groups are around 2,000 men,” Longuet added.
Fighting between the rival presidents’ forces has entered its second week, and concern is growing over the use of UN and French helicopters against Gbagbo’s military.
PARIS, April 7 (RIA Novosti)