10 Apr 2011

Hotel HQ under fire in Abidjan

4:16 pm on 10 April 2011

A hotel used by Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised president of Ivory Coast, has come under attack by forces loyal to the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo.

The Golf Hotel in Abidjan came under mortar and small-arms fire on Saturday.

Mr Gbagbo has refused to concede defeat and step down after a run-off election was held last November. Mr Ouattara is considered by the United Nations to have won the poll.

The British Embassy, which is near Mr Gbagbo's residence in Abidjan, has been evacuated because of the fighting.

Mr Ouattara's forces entered Abidjan last week sweeping down from the north of the country over the past two weeks.

The BBC reports that Mr Gbagbo appeared to be on the verge of defeat several days ago but the Plateau and Cocody areas of Abidjan are now fully in the control of his forces.

The UN says his forces used a lull in the fighting for peace talks as a ruse to reinforce their positions.

Mr Gbagbo has been in power since 2000. The election was meant to unite the country after a civil war in 2002.