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Côte d'Ivoire - From our correspondent

Rival forces breach ceasefire with western fighting

Reuters/Luc Gnago
Text by: Marco Chown Oved
2 min

Fighting has erupted in the west of Côte d'Ivoire between forces loyal to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and northern rebels who are backing his rival Alassane Ouattara. According to the United Nations, the fighting broke out overnight north of the town of Danané and continued on Thursday morning.

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What's only been urban street fighting for the last few days has now spilled over into the countryside.

The UN says clashes between New Forces (FN) rebels and regular army forces broke out this morning near the western village of Tronkopleu, near the border with Guinea and Liberia.

UN spokesperson Hamadoun Touré said that it was a violation of the six-year-old ceasefire that has reigned over the country.

Is this a return to civil war?

Touré says what has until now been street clashes between police and protestors is now turning into a pitched battle between military forces - and it's a game changer.

Meanwhile, fighting continued in Abobo on Thursday, with suspected FN forces in plainclothes fighting with the police for control of the heavily pro-Ouattara district.

The "invisible commandos", as they're known, claim to have killed 27 policemen in their opening ambush on Tuesday. The fighting has hardly stopped since.

All this while we wait for a binding resolution to the crisis, which is expected to be announced by the African Union before Monday next week.

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