Forces loyal to Ouattara plan to seal Ivory Coast border

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

After a battle for the Ivory Coast town of Duekoue, armed forces loyal to president-elect Alassane Ouattara have announced an effort to seal the border between the Ivory Coast and Liberia.

On Monday, Ouattara forces, dubbed New Forces, and those loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, who claims to be the winner of a disputed election last fall, began fighting in Duekoue, a western town of strategic importance due to its position at a crossroads, with access to both Liberia and Guinea.

According to a spokesperson for Ouattara, Seydou Ouattara, the New Forces won the battle, the latest in a series of settlements they have taken control of in recent weeks, and have moved south towards the town of Guiglo.

The New Forces also announced they plan to seal the Ivory Coast—Liberia border, as Gbagbo is accused of importing Liberians to fight in his forces. Spokesperson Ouattara said that "[t]oday's operation will prevent Gbagbo from recruiting and training Liberians as he has been doing."

According to the United Nations, around 460 people have died in violence since the disputed elections, and another million have left the country.