Heavy fire rocks Abidjan
Abidjan - Sporadic heavy weapons fire was heard in Abidjan on Saturday, around the final bastions held by forces loyal to Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, according to residents and AFP journalists.
In the northern suburb of Cocody "we hear irregular shooting, the deafening sound of heavy weapons and bursts of machine gun fire" around state television RTI, situated in the same area as Gbagbo's private home, a resident said.
RTI, briefly captured by fighters backing internationally recognised president Alassane Ouattara, was back on air on Saturday showing images of angry soldiers. In one scene they are seen prodding the bodies of two men killed near the television station on Friday.
Another resident of the under-siege city reported shooting of both heavy and light artillery between rival forces near the gendarmerie school in the same suburb.
Since early morning, several heavy weapons explosions were heard in the deserted administrative district of Plateau where the presidential palace is located, after a night punctuated by bursts of fire, according to AFP.
Another Gbagbo stronghold, the large gendarmerie barracks Agban in the northern suburb of Adjame, continued to resist an assault by pro-Ouattara forces.
"We heard heavy weapons fire at around 05:00," a resident said.
On Friday, Gbagbo' camp said it had repulsed an offensive by the rival army.
However Captain Leon Kouakou Alla, spokesperson for Ouattara's defence ministry, said that "the offensive has not yet begun, it won't be long."
"We are taking steps to weaken the enemy before mounting an assault," he added.