“The Forces Nouvelles played a very important role in our victory and that has to be taken into account,” one of Alassane Ouattara’s leading supporters acknowledged as the news from Abidjan pointed to Laurent Gbagbo’s imminent departure.
For the past four months Ouattara has been recognized internationally as Côte d’Ivoire’s elected president, but his final access to executive power owes much to the force of arms. While military support from the UN and France may have proved pivotal in destroying Gbagbo’s last arsenals, the former rebels known as Forces Nouvelles FN made up most of the newly formed Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire FRCI, which pushed south into the main city Abidjan after winning remarkably easy victories in the centre, east and south of the country in the past week.
Who are the military forces behind Ouattara and how will they proceed once their side takes power?
The U.N. special representative in the Ivory Coast tells Al-Jazeera TV that “the war is over” and that strongman Laurent Gbagbo has surrendered. “He is in a basement and is ready to surrender,” says Y. P. Choi, who is the special representative of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.