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Diehard pro-Gbagbo militia begin to disarm

by Staff Writers
Abidjan (AFP) April 29, 2011
Diehard fighters loyal to Ivory Coast's deposed president Laurent Gbagbo began surrendering arms Friday to the forces of the country's new government.

Around 50 fighters, members of a pro-Gbagbo militia group holed up in Abidjan's Yopougon district, gave up their rifles, rocket launchers and grenades to the troops of the country's new President Alassane Ouattara.

"This ceremony marks the end of the pocket of resistance in Yopougon. Residents asked not to use force to resolve the situation because they would be the first victims," said Eugene Djue, one of the remnant militia leaders.

Hundreds of government troops kept watch during the ceremony also attended by United Nations peacekeepers.

"Ivory Coast has seen so much bloodshed. It's too much and should stop. There is a time for war and a time for peace and we now have peace," said Philippe Mangou, Gbagbo's army chief who has pledged allegiannce to Ouattara.

The vast Yopougon neighbourhood in northwestern Abidjan is the last militia stronghold after Ouattara took power following Gbagbo's arrest on April 11.

Government forces on Wednesday killed militia leader Ibrahim Coulibaly in the northern Abobo ndistrict after Ouattara threatened to use force to disarm militia groups.

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