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Cote d'Ivoire - From our correspondent

Two fronts in the battle for Cote d'Ivoire

A man points to a burnt shop near Williamsville after a clash between Ivorian security forces and pro-Outtara fighters in Abidjan. 15 March 2011.
A man points to a burnt shop near Williamsville after a clash between Ivorian security forces and pro-Outtara fighters in Abidjan. 15 March 2011. Reuters
Text by: Marco Chown Oved
2 min

Residents reported heavy arms fire on Wednesday morning in Duékoué in the west of Côte d'Ivoire, although they could not confirm who was fighting. There are two fronts in the battle for Côte d'Ivoire and sometimes it seems as if they both take turns in fighting.

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The commercial capital of Abidjan was fairly quiet after a day of heavy fighting on Monday. While in the western jungle, which borders Liberia, things heated up.

Abidjan is important for obvious reasons - it's where the presidential palace and all the ministries are located, not to mention over 30 per cent of the population and strategic industries like shipping and banking.

The west however is not a clear strategic location. Some rebels loyal to Alassane Ouattara claim that controlling the border with Liberia will prevent arms from being smuggled in and mercenaries from joining Laurent Gbagbo's cause.

Gbagbo's government says that the rebels want to push towards the south west to San Pedro, the country's second port.

Although San Pedro is still more than 200 kilometres from the fighting, if it fell, it would give the rebels a toehold on the coastline.

In the midst of the fighting, Ouattara addressed the nation on Tuesday night - saying he's giving Gbagbo one last chance to step down peacefully - though the daily fighting leads one to believe that the peace has already been lost.

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