Ouattara says forces "at gates" of Ivory Coast’s Abidjan

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Ivory Coast’s Alassane Ouattara said forces under his command were “at the gates” of Abidjan on Thursday and called on the remaining loyalists of his rival Laurent Gbagbo to switch sides to prevent further suffering.

“I call on you to serve your country … It is time to join your brothers in the Republican Forces,” Ouattara said in a statement on his television station, soon after South Africa said Gbagbo’s army chief had sought refuge in its embassy in the country.

Ouattara’s forces took several towns near the main city of Abidjan, including the cocoa port of San Pedro, overnight, tightening the noose around Gbagbo, who has resisted previous call to step down.

(Writing by David Lewis)

Ouattara says forces "at gates" of Ivory Coast’s Abidjan