Ivory Coast PM: Gbagbo has until 7pm (an hour ago) to resign

After months of moving in slow motion, the crisis in the Ivory Coast is today moving at a breakneck pace. In the last several hours, forces loyal to that country’s election winner, Alassane Ouattara, have advanced into Abidjan from the interior of the country. With active fighting ongoing, massive military and police defections to the ...

By , International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.
JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images
JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images
JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images

After months of moving in slow motion, the crisis in the Ivory Coast is today moving at a breakneck pace. In the last several hours, forces loyal to that country's election winner, Alassane Ouattara, have advanced into Abidjan from the interior of the country. With active fighting ongoing, massive military and police defections to the Ouattara forces, and French troops deployed in the streets to "prevent looting," Ouattara's administration has given outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo until 7 p.m. Ivory Coast time (about 50 minutes before this post went up) to step down. France, the United States, and the United Nations are all calling on Gbagbo to do the same, lest a bloodbath ensue.

There's a real chance of that, despite how weakened Gbagbo's forces clearly are. Amnesty International is warning of a "humanitarian catastophe." The United Nations' peacekeeping force on the ground was worried enough about a security vacuum that it took control of the airport and airspace just moments ago. And in addition to the immediate term fighting, what I'm worried about in the longterm is outside of Abidjan, where there are now numerous reports that ex-combattants from neighboring Liberia are fighting on no one's side, raping and pillaging without regard to the political situation that all diplomatic efforts have gone toward fixing. 

All this is happening so quickly that even Twitter is looking dated; tweets are outpaced by events even as they're instantaneously posted. But to keep up with events on the ground, I would recommend the following resources: 

After months of moving in slow motion, the crisis in the Ivory Coast is today moving at a breakneck pace. In the last several hours, forces loyal to that country’s election winner, Alassane Ouattara, have advanced into Abidjan from the interior of the country. With active fighting ongoing, massive military and police defections to the Ouattara forces, and French troops deployed in the streets to "prevent looting," Ouattara’s administration has given outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo until 7 p.m. Ivory Coast time (about 50 minutes before this post went up) to step down. France, the United States, and the United Nations are all calling on Gbagbo to do the same, lest a bloodbath ensue.

There’s a real chance of that, despite how weakened Gbagbo’s forces clearly are. Amnesty International is warning of a "humanitarian catastophe." The United Nations’ peacekeeping force on the ground was worried enough about a security vacuum that it took control of the airport and airspace just moments ago. And in addition to the immediate term fighting, what I’m worried about in the longterm is outside of Abidjan, where there are now numerous reports that ex-combattants from neighboring Liberia are fighting on no one’s side, raping and pillaging without regard to the political situation that all diplomatic efforts have gone toward fixing. 

All this is happening so quickly that even Twitter is looking dated; tweets are outpaced by events even as they’re instantaneously posted. But to keep up with events on the ground, I would recommend the following resources: 

Slateafrique‘s liveblog

Abidjan.net, a local news source that also pulls from the wires

– Reuters’ page on the Ivory Coast

Or follow me on twitter @DickinsonBeth and I’ll try to do my best to keep up with the news as it’s unfolding.

Elizabeth Dickinson is International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.

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