Cote d'Ivoire's Ouattara forces advance near Gbagbo's residence

09:56, April 01, 2011      

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An armed helicopter hovers above Markory district of Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, March 31, 2011. Heavy weapons and gunfire were heard in Abidjan on Thursday, as forces backing the country's internationally recognized president-elect, Alassane Ouattara, claimed to reach the gate of Abidjan after days of southward military advances, according to media reports. (Xinhua/Ding Haitao)

Forces of Cote d'Ivoire's internationally recognized leader Alassane Ouattara have controlled a large part of Abidjan and were advancing toward the residence of his rival, Laurent Gbagbo, local witnesses said Friday.

Heavy fighting broke out overnight near the compound of Gbagbo in the Codoy district in northern Abidjan, they said, adding that the conflicting parties exchanged heavy gunfire in that area.

Ouattara's government, whose forces have now controlled most of the West African country, earlier ordered the closure of Cote d'Ivoire's land, sea and air borders until further notice.

It also declared a nightly curfew from 2100 GMT to 0600 GMT in Abidjan, the country's economic capital, from Thursday to Sunday.

In another sign of rapid progress by Ouattara's forces, a spokesman for Ouattara's government said its troops have already taken control of the state television in Abidjan.

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Source: Xinhua
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