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Fighting erupts in Ivory Coast over last pocket of resistance

From Eric Agnero, For CNN
UN soldiers guard the residence where deposed Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo is being held in Korhogo on Monday.
UN soldiers guard the residence where deposed Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo is being held in Korhogo on Monday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gbagbo said to have accepted his loss of power
  • "He seems to have accepted that Ouattara is the new president," Kofi Annan says
  • The violence erupted after a delegation of mediators completed a two-day visit
  • ADDITIONAL SNAPSHOT LINK
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Abidjan, Ivory Coast (CNN) -- Heavy fighting continued Tuesday in Yopougon between forces loyal to President Alassane Ouattara and militiamen loyal to former President Laurent Gbagbo even as he was said to have accepted his loss of power.

The military operation was launched Monday by pro-Ouattara forces to crush the last pocket of resistance remaining after the militias turned down a call from Ouattara to disarm or face force.

The new violence erupted after a delegation of mediators led by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan completed a two-day visit to Ivory Coast intended to encourage reconciliation and healing. Annan was joined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland.

Their visit followed post-election violence that claimed the lives of hundreds of people and led nearly a million others to flee the city of Abidjan, according to aid groups.

"I was locked into my house for the past two weeks with no food to eat," said Sery Gregoire, a resident of Yopougon. "But this morning, we were able to escape."

Mathieu Mimi was not so lucky. "We are trapped in guerilla warfare," he said Tuesday. "The militiamen are mobile and melt into the populations. It is hard to catch them."

The mediators visited Gbagbo, who remains under house arrest in the country's north.

Annan said they were pleased to hear Gbagbo say that he wants the country to return to normal as soon as possible. "He seems to have accepted that Ouattara is the new president," Annan said. "We are encouraged by the president's willingness, and that of many of the people we met, to move forward in a spirit of reconciliation, but much of society is still polarized."

The mediators asked the government to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Gbagbo, his wife and all other detainees, as soon as possible.