Photo taken Friday morning in Yopougon by FRANCE 24 Observer "Lookman".
 
In Abidjan, the Ivory Coast’s economic capital, terrified residents have been in lockdown since presidential contender Alassane Ouattara’s forces descended on the city on Thursday, March 31. Our Observer in the western district of Yopougon witnessed scenes of looting that he described as “apocalyptic”.
 
Fierce fighting spread across the city over the weekend as troops loyal to incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo fended off attacks by forces seeking to install his rival Alassane Ouattara. Both Gbagbo and Ouattara claim to have won the November 28 presidential elections, but only Ouattara obtained widespread international support after being declared winner by the Independent Electoral Commission.
 
Several of our Observers reported that heavily armed men in plainclothes were taking advantage of the unrest to loot the homes and shops throughout the city. One of them filmed and photographed the damage done by looters on the night between Thursday and Friday in the pro-Gbagbo district of Yopougon, in western Abidjan.
 
Video shot on Friday, April 1 in Yopougon by our Observer.

"I saw men shoot at every store in the neighbourhood. Then they ran inside and came back out with wheelbarrows full of stolen goods"

Lookman (not his real name) lives in Yopougon, in Abidjan.
 
The looting started on Thursday March 31 at 7pm. Until midnight, we were barricaded inside our home, listening to the sound of gunfire coming closer and closer. From my window, I saw men shoot at every store in the neighbourhood around the Sable crossroads [a busy shopping district of Yopougon].
 
Once the shop windows were shattered, they rushed inside and came back out with wheelbarrows full of stolen goods. They stole everything: fridges, mattresses, TV sets, furniture, etc.
 
 
I’m convinced that the looting in Yopougon was carried out by the same ‘Young Patriots’ [the pro-Gbagbo militia] that have been controlling checkpoints across the district. On Thursday, the FDS [pro-Gbagbo military forces] deserted the neighbourhood because rumour had it that the FRCI [pro-Ouattara military forces] would enter the city via Yopougon. But the ‘Young Patriots’ have taken control of the district. They are armed with Kalashnikovs, grenades and bludgeons. I’m really afraid that they will attack us as well.
  
“This morning [April 1] I was only able to go outdoors for 30 minutes. It was too dangerous”
 
I went outdoors at 7 in the morning [on Friday, April 1] and took photos and videos of the damage. The streets were littered with rubbish and debris, residents were crying. It was like a scene from the Apocalypse. I was only able to go outdoors for 30 minutes. It was too dangerous.”
 
These photos were taken in Yopougon on April 1 by our Observer Lookman.

Post written with FRANCE 24 journalist Peggy Bruguière.