Forces loyal to the internationally recognized victor of the disputed November 2010 election in the Ivory Coast announced they gained control over four towns, which applies military pressure on the incumbent president who has resisted calls to step down, Bloomberg reports.
Alassane Ouattara appears to have further solidified his hold on the office of president, though incumbent Laurent Gbagbo still considers himself to be the victor. Cocoa is playing a significant role in the aftermath of the dispute since the nation is the world's largest producer of the commodity.
"Except in Duekoue, there was no real resistance," said Meite Sindou, a spokesman for the Ouattara administration prime minister and defense minister, Guillaume Soro.
The Republican Forces, as the rebels are known, have laid plans to venture south to San Pedro, a primary port that exports cocoa, Sindou said. They also plan to march on to Abidjan, the commercial capital, where one analyst said they are highly likely to encounter resistance.
"Gbagbo's forces aren't really putting up a fight in these towns, so we can't say it's decisive yet," Henri Boshoff, a military analyst for the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies, told the news service. "Gbagbo will make his last stand in Abidjan. That's where he really has most of his military might."
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