Shops on the Giscard d'Estaing boulevard (in the district of Marcory) were stormed by looters on April 1. Photo: F.M.
As the battle for Abidjan continues between forces loyal to rival presidential contenders Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, terrified residents take advantage of the short morning lulls in the fighting to venture outside in search of food and water. Abidjan residents have only a few short hours to do their shopping as a curfew has been imposed from midday to 6 am.
Weary of failed diplomatic efforts to resolve a tense political crisis triggered by November 28’s disputed presidential election, which both Ouattara and Gbagbo claim to have won, Ouattara’s forces launched a lightning offensive from the north on Monday March 28, seizing much of the country and entering Abidjan late last week.
There, they came up against fierce resistance after initially predicting the final showdown with Gbagbo would end within hours.
Abidjan, the Ivory Coast’s former capital and main economic and power hub, is a key stake in the battle for control of the country. It is the site of a last stand by Gbagbo’s forces, which are entrenched around the presidential palace at the heart of the city.