Ivory Coast embarks on daunting security purge

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Ivory Coast’s messy removal of over-staying leader Laurent Gbagbo has left the new government with the daunting task of wiping out remaining pockets of resistance. New President Alassane Ouattara, who took office nearly five months after winning elections after his troops captured Gbagbo on April 11, has already demolished a popular market in Abidjan that teemed with the fallen regime’s followers. The city’s university, said to have been another hotbed of pro-Gbagbo elements, has been closed indefinitely. But defiant, diehard fighters who are clustered in Abidjan’s northwestern Yopougon district put up stiff resistance this week when government forces attempted to dislodge them.
The west African country’s Education Minister Kandia Camara told AFP the University of Cocody campuses were shut down to “rehabilitate the students’ residence and for security reasons.” “These places were battle zones. There were arms and militia. The majority of the people were not students,” she said. Just outside the university in a plush neighbourhood near the presidential residence, informal shops have been razed, leaving their owners scrambling to salvage their wares. Students said the campus was virtually run by a powerful pro-Gbagbo students’ union.