Africa

Ivory Coast troops retake pro-Gbagbo area of Abidjan

Red Cross workers retrieve bodies from Yopougon, Abidjan, Ivory Coast (4 May 2011)
Image caption Red Cross workers have been retrieving bodies left in the streets of Yopougon

Government forces in the Ivory Coast say they are now in control of the whole of the main city of Abidjan.

Supporters of ousted President Laurent Gbagbo had been holding out in Yopougon district but a military commander said they had now been defeated.

The district was the scene of heavy fighting during the struggle between Mr Gbagbo and President Alassane Ouattara.

PM Guillaume Soro, visiting the site later, said the streets there were "littered with bodies".

"At the militia headquarters we saw an improvised cemetery. I can imagine the slaughter that took place," he said.

"I'm still under shock after seeing all these dead, all these bodies."

The Reuters news agency reports that Red Cross officials have collected nearly 70 bodies so far.

Commander Cherif Ousmane said the whole of Yopougon, in Abidjan's business district, was "now definitively occupied by us".

Local people said the Gbagbo fighters had terrorised the neighbourhood.

"They were armed and they did whatever they wanted," one man told Reuters.

Other residents said food and water had been in short supply and infrastructure damaged by the fighting.

More than 1,000 are believed to have been killed since Mr Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in November's presidential election.

He was arrested in April at the presidential residence in Abidjan and is being detained in the north of the country.

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