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Ivory Coast's Leader Under Siege

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Following a presidential election last November, Ivory Coast's incumbent leader, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to step down despite his apparent loss at the polls. Challenger Alassane Outtara was declared the winner and recognized as such internationally. Since then supporters loyal to both figures have been involved in sporadic, often violent, clashes. Backed by the United Nations and French government troops, forces loyal to Outtara have made significant gains, and over the past several days have reportedly cornered Gbagbo in a bunker at his residence in the country's economic capital, Abidjan. Earlier today, talks were underway between Gbagbo and representatives of the French government concerning Gbagbo's exit from power, but with these talks reportedly having failed, the situation remains fluid and dangerous. Gathered here are images from the recent conflict in Ivory Coast. [See also "An Era of Intervention?" by Max Fisher.] [37 photos]

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Soldiers loyal to democratically elected president Alassane Ouattara return from fighting to a checkpoint serving as an operating base, at one of the main entrances to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Soldiers loyal to democratically elected president Alassane Ouattara return from fighting to a checkpoint serving as an operating base, at one of the main entrances to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Supporters of incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo raise their hands in a show of support, at a pro-Gbagbo rally in the Yopougon district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #
Ivory Coast's strongman Laurent Gbagbo waits for the arrival of African Union Commission chief Jean Ping and African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra at the Presidential residence in Abidjan on March 5, 2011. Ping was sent into the fray by a panel of five African heads of state tasked with finding a peaceful solution to the dispute in which both men claim to be president. (SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images) #
Women face off against soldiers in an unauthorized protest calling for Laurent Gbagbo to step down, in the Treichville neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Shortly after this picture was taken, soldiers began firing to disperse the protesters. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #
Men show bloodstains left on the street where at least six women where allegedly shot dead by security forces loyal to Ivory Coast's strongman, Laurent Gbagbo, on March 3, 2011 in Abobo, a working class neighborhood of Abidjan. Forces opened fire on hundreds of demonstrators calling for the ouster of Gbagbo. (ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images) #
A UN helicopter passes over the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Friday, April 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Emanuel Ekra) #
A soldier loyal to Alassane Ouattara wears an antique gas mask as he waits to deploy with other soldiers at a checkpoint at one of the principal entrances to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #
An internally displaced woman in Duekoue, western Ivory Coast. She and the many others in this Catholic mission IDP camp were driven from their homes by attacks from pro-Ouattara militias in January, 2011. Photo from the Catholic mission IDP camp and the Celestine Church. Original here. (Mike Fleshman / CC BY-SA) #
Children play in a UNHCR tent at St. Ambrose church in Angree in Abidjan March 18, 2011. The church is being used as a temporary refuge for people fleeing from clashes between forces loyal to incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara. (Reuters/Thierry Gouegnon) #
An aerial view of a market area in the Adjame neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast Thursday, March 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #
A fighter opposed to Laurent Gbagbo's bid to cling to power displays the amulets he wears to protect himself from enemy fire, in the Abobo district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast Saturday, March 12, 2011. Since repelling intense attacks by security forces two weeks ago, an armed force - dubbed the "Invisible Commandos" and comprising neighborhood residents, former rebels, and defecting security forces - has been steadily gaining ground in Abidjan's northern suburbs. The group, allied with internationally-recognized president Alassane Ouattara, now controls a large swath of territory including Anyama and most of Abobo. (AP Photo / Rebecca Blackwell) #
A UN peacekeeper from Jordan patrols the streets of Abidjan, Ivory Coast on April 3rd, 2011. Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo is negotiating his surrender, a diplomat said Tuesday, April 5, 2011, after United Nations and French forces bombarded military sites, backing Ivorian fighters who are trying to install the elected president. (AP Photo/Jane Hahn) #
A UN peacekeeper from Jordan Battalion reloads his weapon as he returns fire on troops supporting Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo during a patrol in the streets of Abidjan, Ivory Coast on April 3rd, 2011. (AP Photo/Jane Hahn) #
Pro-Ouattara fighters of the FRCI (Republican Force of Ivory Coast), one of them wearing a gas mask, prepare for the so-called "final assault" in front of the Golf Hotel in Abidjan on April 5, 2011. Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo is hunkered down in a bunker at his residence in Abidjan, after calling for a ceasefire as rival forces cornered him, the UN mission said. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #
Karidja Cisse walks through her kitchen, damaged by a mortar during a Saturday bombardment by government forces, in the PK18 area of Abobo, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Wednesday, March 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #
In this photo dated Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011, pictures of various people who were allegedly maimed and killed for being suspected supporters of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara lay strewn on a desk at the mayor's office in the Abobo district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Morgue records obtained by The Associated Press in Ivory Coast provide new proof of mass killings after the country's disputed November 2010 election. As of Tuesday, Feb. 15, nearly three months later, at least 113 bodies are allegedly still being held and have not been released to grieving families, and the Associated Press was refused access to five morgues. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #
A man helps a boy to board a bus at the bus station of Adjame in Abidjan March 20, 2011. Thousands of Ivorians fleeing violence in the commercial capital Abidjan gathered in its main bus station on Sunday, crowding onto buses carrying suitcases full of belongings they had salvaged to head to the countryside. (Reuters/Luc Gnago) #
Members of the pro-Ouattara forces are pictured on March 28, 2011 in Blolequin, in western Ivory Coast. (ZOOM DOSSO/AFP/Getty Images) #
A man takes a photo of a corpse in the street on February 23, 2011 in the Abobo district of Abidjan. About 10 troops loyal to Gbagbo were killed yesterday in clashes with unidentified gunmen in the Abidjan working class district of Abobo -- a Ouattara stronghold, a security source said. (ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images) #
Youth supporters of Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo gather at a stadium at army headquarters to sign up for military service in Abidjan March 21, 2011. Thousands of youth supporters of Gbagbo answered a call to join the army on Monday, adding fuel to a violent power struggle that risks sending the country back to civil war. (Reuters/Luc Gnago) #
A Pro-Gbagbo militiamen mans a post in the empty streets of Abidjan as forces loyal to the internationally recognized Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara approach the capital, on March 31, 2011. (JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images) #
A fighter loyal to Ivorian presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara displays traditional hunters' charms as forces gather outside the capital Abidjan, April 3, 2011. (Reuters/Emmanuel Braun) #
Soldiers loyal to Alassane Ouattara prepare to deploy at a checkpoint at one of the principal entrances to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #
A soldier loyal to Alassane Ouattara lies wounded in the road after a deadly car accident outside Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Tuesday, April 5, 2011. Doctors were unable to get him to a hospital in time to safe his life. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #
A tank burns by the roadside after heavy fighting in Ivory Coast's main city Abidjan, April 5, 2011. (Reuters/Emmanuel Braun) #
A man who was shot in the hip by security forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo rests following initial treatment at a health clinic in the Anyama suburb of Abidjan, Ivory Coast Saturday, March 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #
In this photo taken on Sunday, April 3, 2011, looted streets can be seen in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. (AP Photo/Jane Hahn) #
Ivory Coast's internationally-recognized President, Alassane Ouattara, meets with African Union commission chairman Jean Ping, not pictured, at the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, Ivory Coast Saturday, March 5, 2011. Ping traveled to Abidjan on Saturday to invite Ouattara and defiant leader Laurent Gbagbo to attend a March 10 meeting of AU leaders in Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #
Explosions are seen during an attack by U.N. and French armed forces in Abidjan April 4, 2011. French helicopters opened fire on a military camp in Abidjan on Monday, French armed forces spokesman Thierry Burkhard said. Earlier, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he had authorized France's military to join a U.N. operation against forces loyal to Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo. (Reuters/Stringer) #
Explosions are seen at a camp of soldiers loyal to Laurent Gbagbo during an attack by U.N. and French armed forces in Treichville in Abidjan April 4, 2011. U.N. and French helicopters attacked Gbagbo's last strongholds in Abidjan on Monday as forces loyal to Ivory Coast presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara streamed into the city from the north. (Reuters/Luc Gnago) #
Forces loyal to Ivorian presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara wait beside an injured man in the capital Abidjan, April 2, 2011. Soldiers of Ivory Coast's rival leaders battled for the presidential palace, military bases and state TV in the main city Abidjan on Saturday, in a conflict becoming so brutal that it killed 800 people in one town alone. (Reuters/Emmanuel Braun) #
Civilians raise up their hands as they walk down a street under control of soldiers loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, near the presidential palace in Abidjan April 4, 2011. Troops loyal to Gbagbo have held on to positions around the presidential palace and at his residence in the well-to-do Cocody suburb. (Reuters/Luc Gnago) #
A soldier loyal to Ivory Coast presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara moves along a road as fighting flares across the country's main city Abidjan April 4, 2011. (Reuters/Emmanuel Braun) #
A French tank crosses General de Gaulle bridge in Abidjan April 5, 2011. Four French tanks and several armored personnel vehicles crossed bridges formerly held by forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast's main city Abidjan on Tuesday, a Reuters correspondent said. (Reuters/Luc Gnago) #
Soldiers loyal to Alassane Ouattara point to men they claim to recognize among several dozen prisoners captured during fighting and patrols in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #
Backers of Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo seized by supporters of Ivory Coast's internationally recognized leader Alassane Ouattara are held on April 5, 2011 at the Golf Hotel, Ouattara's headquarters in Abidjan. Gbagbo supporters on April 6 accused French troops and forces loyal to Ouattara of staging an assassination attempt by attacking his residence and the presidential palace. (AFP/Getty Images) #
A plume of smoke rises over Abidjan April 6, 2011. Forces loyal to Ivory Coast presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara on Wednesday stormed the residence of incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo who has refused to cede power, a spokeswoman for Ouattara forces told Reuters. (Reuters/Emmanuel Braun) #

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