Fighters supporting Ivory Coast’s internationally recognized leader seized control of the country’s administrative capital on Wednesday, marking a symbolic victory after months of political chaos sparked when the incumbent refused to step down after the election.
The fall of Yamoussoukro caps a dramatic advance on the city from multiple directions this week, but many believe a final bloody battle over the presidency is now destined for the commercial capital of Abidjan, only 143 miles away.
Capt. Leon Alla, a defense spokesman for the internationally backed leader Alassane Ouattara, confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that “the town of Yamoussoukro is in the hands of the Republican Forces.”
With the sounds of gunshots cracking over the telephone line, a woman at the downtown Hotel La Residence said rebel forces were doing a victory tour, shooting into the air. Residents came out into the streets to welcome them, she said.