22 Apr 2011

Ivory Coast factions exchange fire

8:36 am on 22 April 2011

There have been clashes in Ivory Coast among forces loyal to President Alassane Ouattara, whose troops took control of the main city Abidjan last week.

Troops from the north of the country clashed with a militia called the Invisible Commando in an exchange of fire in Abidjan that lasted less than 30 minutes, but caused panic.

The militia's commander says he wants recognition for his role in overthrowing the former president, Laurent Gbagbo.

The BBC says the exhange of fire was the most public sign yet of splits in the coalition of forces that brought Mr Ouattara to power.

Meanwhile, the African Union says it is lifting its suspension of Ivory Coast from the organisation and has dropped sanctions against the country, now that Mr Ouattara won the four-month power struggle against Laurent Gbagbo.

Ivory Coast was suspended from the African Union when Mr Gbagbo refused to step down despite losing last November's presidential elections to Mr Outtara.