Rebel forces loyal to UN-backed President-claimant Alassane Ouattara are closer to annexing Ivory Coast’s capital Yamoussoukro, according to The Guardian. They have already taken over Sinfra and Bouafle which lie to the west of the capital.Violent clashes have increased since Ivory Coast’s President Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after losing elections in November last year.
Gbagbo has appealed for a ceasefire now that pro-Ouattara forces claim to have control of about 75% of the country. A representative for Gbagbo told Radio France International:
“We call for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of talks under the mediation of the African Union high representative. Failing which, we will use our legitimate right of defence.
We have adopted a strategy of tactical withdrawal. We hope that dialogue will open very shortly. It is useless to head into conflict and increase the number of victims.”
On March 28 Ouattara extended the ban on cocoa exports according to Bloomberg and the ongoing fighting is likely to keep affecting cocoa futures. Meanwhile cocoa prices are plummeting.