French forces take over Abidjan airport

French troops have taken over the airport in Ivory Coast’s main city, Abidjan, in the midst of a bloody battle for presidential control, according to the AFP news agency.

A spokesperson also revealed that France is planning to send an additional 300 soldiers to Ivory Coast.

Meanwhile British Foreign Secretary William Hague has urged Laurent Gbagbo to give up power immediately to spare his people further bloodshed.

He commented: “I am determined that all alleged human rights abuses in the city and elsewhere in Cote d’Ivoire must be investigated and those responsible held to account.”

The address was made upon the discovery if mass graves containg over 1000 bodies in the city of Duekoue.

ADVERTISEMENT

Red Cross spokeswoman Dorothea Krimitsas claimed delegates from the Ivorian Red Cross had visited Duekoue on to gather evidence and saw a “huge number of bodies”.
The Ivory Coast has been beseiged by fighting ever since Gbagbo refused to step down from power, despite losing an election to rival Alassane Ouattara, who was declared winner if a November run-off vote.

The four month stand off have led to sanctions which have failed to dislodge Gbagbo.

Around one million people have fled Abidjan alone and 122,000 more have crossed into Liberia, according to the UN.

The FCO has advised against all travel to Core d’Ivorie as the security situation remains extremely volatile. The FCO explains that due to escalating tension and thread of widespread instability and violence throughout the country, British nationals are advised to stay at home.

Air France cancelled its flight to Abidjan on 1st April. More commercial flights are expected to suspend services.