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Ivory Coast crisis: As it happened - Wednesday 6 April

  • Forces opposed to disputed President Laurent Gbagbo have attacked his residence - where he and his family are said to be sheltering - but been repelled after the breakdown of talks trying to secure his surrender
  • Fighters backing the internationally-recognised winner of November's presidential poll, Alassane Ouattara, have said they will not kill Mr Gbagbo if they are able to seize him; Mr Gbagbo's supporters say his enemies want to assassinate him
  • French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said negotiations with Mr Gbagbo's entourage had broken down as a result of the incumbent president's "intransigence"
  • Earlier this week, UN and French helicopters attacked heavy artillery sites near the presidential residence, backed by a UN resolution authorising force to protect civilians and defend UN staff
  • Mr Gbagbo insists he won last November's presidential vote, but the Ivorian election commission found that Mr Ouattara was the winner, and that result was certified by the UN
  • Live page reporters: Michael Hirst, Olivia Lang, Zoe Murphy and David Walker
  • All times GMT

1800 With Laurent Gbagbo stubbornly clinging on in the bunker of his presidential palace, it looks - once again - like we are unlikely to see a resolution to the crisis in Ivory Coast tonight. We're going to close our minute-by-minute coverage for now, but there will be regular updates on the BBC news website throughout the night. Thanks for following developments with the BBC.

1757Caroline Gluck, who works for Oxfam in Liberia, tells BBC World Have Your Say that she met a man in hospital who saw his sister shot in front of him. He lost a finger and a thumb in the attack by unknown fighters, and said he didn't understand why they were attacked, as they're just farmers.

1754 An Abidjan resident tells BBC World Have Your Say his 8 year old son feels like he is in a prison because he hasn't been able to leave the house for more than a week.

1746 Marc Salvail, a representative of UNICEF in Abidjan, tells BBC World Have Your Say it is impossible for them to do their jobs. He and his team tried to leave their compound but they had to turn back because people were being killed right in front of them.

1738 Texas in Africa tweets: "What is Gbagbo thinking? Now his only choices are surrender & prosecution, battle death, or suicide."

1731 A quick recap on today's developments in Abidjan. Ivory Coast's besieged leader, Laurent Gbagbo, has remained in hiding in his residence as supporters of his opponent, Alassane Ouattara, tried all day to force him out. Mr Gbagbo is refusing to give up the presidency more than 24 hours after UN and French forces fired at his compound. Renewed fighting started this morning after the breakdown of talks aimed at securing his surrender. Mr Gbagbo's supporters say his opponents want to kill him; Mr Ouattara's officials say their troops have been given orders to take him alive.

1723 Laurent Gbagbo has so far refused to take the advice of allies such as South Africa and Liberia, and seems determined to remain as president, says the BBC's John James in Abidjan. It's unclear how long he can hold out, adds our correspondent. The soldiers inside his residence clearly have enough weapons to repel repeated attacks by heavy weaponry from pro-Ouattara forces. Things are currently reasonably quiet in the city, and it's unclear as to whether fresh talks have started. The situation is something of a stand-off at the moment, he says.

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1718 For some of the most recent pictures from Ivory Coast, have a look at this gallery compiled by The Atlantic.

1709 Everyone in Abidjan is scared, says one resident contacted by the BBC. "I've been trapped in my home because of the intense fighting," said the resident, who we are not naming for their own safety. "My neighbour witnessed the burning of three people last night by the militia. This morning my girlfriend's house was hit by a mortar bomb. Luckily no one was hurt but the house has been partially destroyed. Everyday from 0600 until 1200 there is a six-hour a lull in the fighting. When the curfew is lifted people venture out to get water and buy food. The bread queue at the bakery was very long. People had been queuing for hours and when sporadic gunfire was heard everybody fled. I returned home empty-handed."

1658 The latest reports suggest today's assault by pro-Ouattara forces on the Gbagbo residence was repelled, citing Western military sources. "They could not break through the resistance from all the heavy weapons still hidden around Gbagbo's residence," a source told Reuters. "They pulled back to rethink and replan." A spokeswoman for Mr Ouattara denied his forces had retreated but would not provide any details on the fighting.

1651 A resident in the central Deux Plateau district of Abidjan said pro-Ouattara forces were patrolling today when he went outside looking for food. "There were 25 four-by-fours with about seven men per car," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme. "Some of us tried to run away and they said: 'No, no, no, listen don't run, we're your friends, there's no problem. Buy what you want to buy because it's curfew soon… Do everything you have to do and go home.' And they drove off."

1646 Who are the military forces behind Mr Ouattara and how will they proceed if and when their side takes power? The UN offers this piece analysing the various factions.

1640 The pro-Ouattara forces are treading a difficult line, analysts say. While Mr Gbagbo remains holed up in Abidjan, it would be very difficult for Mr Ouattara to take control of the country, not least because he would be seen in some parts of Ivory Coast as a puppet of the French government. If Mr Gbagbo dies, however, it would be a set-back for the pro-Ouattara forces as the incumbent would be seen as a martyr.

1635 The BBC's Africa Have Your Say programme has just spoken to Kudo, an Abidjan resident. With gunshots audible in the background, Kudo described the hardship, the lack of drinking water and the scarcity of news available. "Civilians are stuck, lots of families, lots of children in buildings, in homes… for the whole week," he said. "There have been looters on the streets… People have to know that jails have been opened."

1630 Andrew Hartwell tweets: "Coincidence the guy France is backing in #IvoryCoast oversaw sell off of public utilities to French interests in 90s? #justasking"

1624 These are critical times for Ivory Coast, says the BBC's Andrew Harding in Abidjan. A quick negotiated exit for Mr Gbagbo might have stabilised the situation in the country. Instead his militias remain at large and Abidjan remains a very dangerous place.

1617 Thanks for following the latest news from Ivory Coast with the BBC. On this page, you'll find minute-by-minute updates from our correspondents on the ground, analysis and reaction from around the world. Do get in touch with your thoughts on the situation by text, email or twitter. We'll publish what we can.

1609 Today's Africa Have your Say programme on the BBC World Service is on air now, and is being devoted to the crisis in Ivory Coast.

1604 To get a picture of the humanitarian crisis engulfing Ivory Coast

1551 The International Committee of the Red Cross, meanwhile, says the humanitarian situation is worsening as fighting and looting continue. It has started delivering nearly 12 tonnes of supplies that were flown in today to meet the most urgent needs of people affected by the conflict. Also on board the ICRC aircraft were more than a tonne of pipes, pumps and other items needed to upgrade water supply systems for those suffering water shortages across the country.

1545 British Red Cross tweets: "ICRC and Liberian RC are also working to restore contact between child refugees who have fled from #IvoryCoast to Liberia and their families."

1536 Channel 4 News is reporting that UN investigators have identified a third possible massacre site in the Ivory Coast. UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic, who is overseeing the UN team investigating mass killings, told the channel that in addition to two mass graves which were found in Duekoue last month, reports based on "reliable information" have led them to a third site in Bloleuquin. Read the report here.

1528 As the humanitarian crisis deepens, a vital lifeline to help Abidjan residents is being provided from neighbouring Ghana using mobile phones, reports my colleague Jamillah Knowles. With many banks closed, people can't get hold of cash to buy credit for urgent calls on mobiles. A volunteer-run scheme called CivSocial allows residents to "flash" CivSocial's number in Accra by making a very brief call or text, so that volunteers can call them back and assess their needs.

1517 The ways in which the Libya and Ivory Coast conflicts are resolved could shape geopolitical norms for a generation or more, Regimes of brutal and autocratic leaders have been reinforced by 20 years of international norms telling them that they can get away with bloody, lifelong rule, he writes. "With swift, decisive international action in Libya and in Ivory Coast, we may be entering a new era where such leaders understand that they are not all-powerful within their own borders."

1511 Militia groups - largely loyal to Mr Gbagbo - have been running rampant around Abidjan, where many civilians are afraid to leave their homes adds our correspondent. The few brave enough to go outside to search for water or supplies are doing so with their hands raised above their heads to ensure they are not mistaken for fighters and shot.

1506 Mr Gbagbo's side have described this morning's attack on his Abidjan compound as an assassination attempt, but Mr Ouattara's officials say their troops have been given orders to take the incumbent president alive. There's clearly a concern that if he's killed that could trigger further unrest in the country, says the BBC's Andrew Harding in Abidjan.

1457 Meanwhile, Mr Ouattara's position as elected president could be weakened if he is implicated in last week's reported massacres in the western town of Duekoue - where more than 200 bodies have been found in mass graves. Forces loyal to Mr Gbagbo and Mr Ouattara have blamed each other for the deaths, which the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has said he plans to investigate.

1451 The humanitarian situation is perhaps most perilous in Abidjan, where the UN reports that most of the hospitals are not functioning and ambulances have been fired on when they tried to enter the city. Even if the violence ends today, Alessane Ouattara as the country's elected leader will face a huge challenge establishing authority over a country divided for decades, says the BBC's diplomatic correspondent, James Robbins.

1447 Whilst the Gbagbo administration appears to be in its death throes, the people of Ivory Coast are suffering. Relief agencies say at least 1,000 civilians have been killed in the violence since November's election. Up to a million people have fled their homes, more than 100,000 have fled into Liberia and there is an acute shortage of food, water and shelter across the country.

1442 Stay with us as we bring you the latest breaking news from our correspondents on the ground in Ivory Coast as well as analysis and reaction from around the world. Do send us your thoughts on the situation - by text, email or twitter. We'll publish what we can.

1435 Eric Mveng tweets: "What does France want to prove to prove to the world by getting involved this much - even to the extent of ridicule - in the Ivorian crisis? "

1425 Supporters of Mr Gbagbo have accused France of involvement in this morning's bombardment of the presidential residence - allegations denied by a spokesman for pro-Ouattara forces. "France did not participate in any way in the assault we launched (this morning)," the spokesman, Sidiki Konate, told Radio France Internationale. "It was uniquely and exclusively an operation of the Republican Forces of Cote d'Ivoire... We now understand that no mediation will make Mr Laurent Gbagbo leave and such diplomatic initiatives would only be a waste of time. Ivorians cannot wait any longer, Cote d'Ivoire cannot wait any longer.

1417 If you haven't seen it yet, there's a strong piece of first person reportage about life in Abidjan by Fatou Keita in today's New York Times. "Hunkered down in the hallway with my family, my computer on the floor, I hold up my phone so friends overseas can hear the gunfire," writes the novelist.

1411 Mr Gbagbo is still in contact with international representatives about a possible surrender despite the earlier bombardment of his residence, AFP quotes a UN spokesman as saying.

1408 The BBC's John James in Abidjan says that although the heavy bombardment around Laurent Gbagbo's compound seems to have stopped, there are still reports of shooting across the city - the military option seems to be the way this situation is going to be resolved. The noose is tightening on Mr Gbagbo, says our correspondent, although Mr Ouattara's forces want him to come out of this alive, possibly to face trial in an international court.

1400 British Red Cross tweets: "You can donate now to our Ivory Coast crisis appeal at #IvoryCoast #Cotedivoire"

1357 The widespread killings in Ivory Coast may trigger an investigation by the International Criminal Court, says the ICC in a statement. "The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is very concerned about the deteriorating situation in Ivory Coast including recent information about alleged mass killings in the Western part of the country," says the statement. "The Office continues to collect information on alleged crimes committed there by different parties to the conflict."

1354 Save the Children tweets from Duekou, Ivory Coast: "There isn't enough room in the tents, so children are sleeping outside without a mat or blanket. #civsocial #civ2010 #ivorycoast"

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1350 As the dust settles in Abidjan, the future of Mr Gbagbo's top aides rests in the balance. The Economist raises an interesting question about the role of General Philippe Mangou, Mr Gbagbo's army chief of staff. Last week he was thought to have defected after reportedly taking refuge in the residence of the South African ambassador in Abidjan, "But early yesterday it was announced that he had rejoined Mr Gbagbo's forces, having apparently merely taken shelter in the embassy during the assault on the city by the pro-Ouattara troops. Today he pops up again, this time to announce-before an official ceasefire had even been concluded-that all his troops had stopped fighting. It will be interesting to see if Mr Ouattara decides to keep him on."

1341 The BBC's Andrew Harding in Abidjan says the window for negotiations with Mr Gbagbo has been slammed firmly shut in the last few hours, and that the bombardment of his residence was a "ferocious military assault". "We do not know yet what the status of that assault is," says our correspondent. "The problem here is we have had so much information and counterinformation, used very politically by both sides, that we have to be a bit cautious."

1337 AFP reports that those two helicopters seen flying at low altitude over Mr Gbagbo's residence were UNOCI (UN Mission In Cote d'Ivoire) aircraft.

1334 Samuel Ayela tweets: "If Gbagbo is killed by the French, the chrisitan Ivorians will never forgive Outtarra, who has now become a puppet of France."

1331 There's been a lull in the fighting around the presidential residence, reports say. Pauline Bax, a correspondent in Abidjan for the Bloomberg news agency, told the BBC's Newshour programme that she had seen two helicopters hovering over the compound but could not see whether they landed. It is difficult to assess what exactly is going on, she added, because both sides are "guilty of publishing a lot of propaganda". But as far as Ms Bax can see and hear, there are still troops loyal to Mr Gbagbo defending his residence.

1328 But Mr Gbagbo's exact whereabouts remain unclear. "I am not in a bunker," he told French radio earlier today. Our colleagues over at BBC Monitoring have picked up this interview he gave to Radio France Internationale: "I am in the residence - the residence of the president of the republic," he said. "It is to be recalled that in 2002 we were attacked by rebels - in fact the same ones - and it was said at the time that I was also hiding in the same bunker. Now, when it rains outside can't one take shelter inside his house? That is what I did."

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1323 This is looking like the endgame for Laurent Gbagbo. But, now is no time to celebrate. "If and when this political stand-off ends, Ivory Coast is going to be broken," she says in a piece straight-forwardly entitled: How come the whole world couldn't stop one man from wrecking the Ivory Coast?

1320 Mr Juppe told the French parliament that the negotiations with Mr Gbagbo's entourage broke down as a result of the incumbent president's "intransigence", Reuters reports.

1318 We're hours from the the end of Laurent Gbagbo's time as Ivory Coast's president, adds our correspondent, but whether that will signal an end to the fighting in the country is another matter.

1315 This just in from the French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe via Reuters: Negotiations with Laurent Gbagbo have failed. The attacking forces outside his presidential compound have said they are going in "to fetch Mr Gbagbo". The BBC's Andrew Harding says that with the incendiary presence of Gbagbo supporters on the streets this is a delicate situation that needs to be handled carefully even though talks appear to have broken down.

1312 There is some pressure on Mr Ouattara to come up with a dignified end to the crisis for Mr Gbagbo, adds our correspondent, as pro-Gbagbo militia groups - who are already reportedly running rampage around Abidjan - could seek to avenge his treatment if he suffers a humiliating ouster.

1309 The BBC's Andrew Harding says it is unclear whether Mr Gbagbo is really trying to cling onto the presidency, or just using this protracted siege as a ploy to negotiate his exit on his own terms. Either way, it seems like the incumbent leader has overplayed his hand, as if he is captured that would be a humiliating fall from power for him and his supporters.

1304 Mr Gbagbo's side have described it as an assassination attempt, but Mr Ouattara's officials say their troops have been given orders not to kill him. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe earlier accused Mr Gbagbo of absurd stubbornness, saying all his supporters had abandoned him.

1300 If you're just joining us, welcome. Here's a quick update on today's fast-moving events in Ivory Coast: Forces opposed to the besieged leader, Laurent Gbagbo, have attacked his residence - where he's believed to be holed up in a bunker - after the breakdown of talks trying to secure his surrender. Heavy firing could be heard as troops backing the internationally-recognised winner of November's presidential poll, Alassane Ouattara, made their move. They said they were going into the building to seize Mr Gbagbo.

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1254Alieu Konneh in Monrovia, writes: "The secret behind Gbagbo's so-called ceasefire is to re-arm his militia to continue the massacre... Therefore, it will be logical if the UN and France can put out speedy measures to end his regime and to stop his destructive militia and mercenaries."

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1237Alfred Ndam Forminyam in Cameroon, writes: "Mr Gbagbo is taking the international community for a fool. How can he say yesterday that he is negotiating to surrender and later say otherwise? I know he is getting advice from die-hard African leaders like Mugabe, Gaddafi, Museveni, but in the end he will be the loser."

1233The French military has released video footage of French tanks and UN vehicles patrolling the streets of Abidjan. The vehicles are seen crossing bridges formerly held by forces loyal to Mr Gbagbo, which link the northern administrative and the financial district to the south, Reuters reports.

1216The BBC's John James in Abidjan says he can hear "the loud thuds of the heavy weaponry" used to attack Gbagbo's residence. He says: "The attack continues, at the same time we've got reports of Ouattara's forces taking just the final sites in the city that they hadn't already captured, principally around the Plateau area, which is the commercial district."

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1212Louise in Sheffield, UK, writes: "This is a fitting end for a coward who uses others to commit atrocities in his name whilst attempting to protect himself and his assets. I hope he will now face the full force of the law and that the new government and/or international community makes an example of Gbagbo by showing him the same level of mercy he has shown the people of Ivory Coast. I only hope that Ouattara will prove different and will genuinely attempt to improve the quality of life for all Ivorians before leaving office. Sadly, given the behaviour of his 'loyal' troops, I now have little faith that he will be any better."

1207The BBC's Andrew Harding on the outskirts of Abidjan says civilians still trapped in the city say there has been sporadic gunfire with pro-Gbagbo militias still on the streets and growing fears of revenge killings.

1203 Al Jazeera's Nick Clark tweets: "Ongoing conflicting reports on Laurent Gbagbo's whereabouts/position. Don't believe anything till you see him." #Ivory Coast #Cote d'Ivoire

1200Laurent Gbagbo's spokesman in Europe, Toussaint Alain, has accused France of trying to assassinate Mr Gbagbo. He told French channel La Chaine Info: "We're appealing to the French community and the international community, French public opinion and international public opinion about French activities that risk plunging Cote d'Ivoire into chaos - and Mr Sarkozy will be fully and entirely responsible for what he is in the process of unleashing."

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1156Andoni Zubizarreta in Abidjan, writes: "It's been crazy, every economic activity seems to have come to a standstill. I am running out of patience with the whole situation, as I am running out of food. Hunger, hopelessness and poverty dominate the days.

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1153Uche in Nigeria, writes: "I am a Nigerian living in Ivory Coast - I ran back to Nigeria because of the war. The problem affected everyone there, both poor and rich. I don't think that Ivory Coast will reunite again no matter who is in power, because they have divided the country into Muslim and Christian.

1149A spokesman for Alassane Ouattara has told French news channel La Chaine Info that forces are close to seizing Mr Gbagbo. "The main objective is to capture (Gbagbo) and obviously not to harm him physically. To do this, the republican forces are now at the residence. They've opened the gates to see that the inside of the residence was packed with heavy weapons, such as double-barrelled anti-air defence guns. So, as we speak, they still haven't captured him but it won't be long whatever," said Affousy Bamba.

1137A senior analyst at Rabobank has forecast a global cocoa deficit of 30,000 tonnes in 2011/12, Reuters reports.

1133The BBC's Andrew Harding says he has been stopped at a roadblock on the edge of Abidjan by Mr Ouattara's forces. He says: "We can hear the heavy bombardment - intermittent now - but ferocious just an hour or so ago. We've been speaking to diplomats in their own bunkers in their own residences close to Mr Gbagbo's, and they have confirmed the residence does appear to be under attack. We don't know the status of that attack... The concern of course is that were Mr Gbagbo to be killed it could further destabilise the situation... perhaps even push the country back to war."

1118 The European Union has imposed new sanctions against Laurent Gbagbo, banning the purchase of bonds from his "illegitimate government", AFP reports.

1116 The BBC's Andrew Harding, on the outskirts of Abidjan, says it seems Mr Gbagbo may have over-played his hand and a military solution may now be found rather than a negotiated one.

1112 Abdon George Bayeto, UK representative for the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), Mr Gbagbo's party, told the BBC World Service that Ivory Coast was under attack: "We are at war against France. France and the United Nations were bombarding the Ivorian institutions, the Ivorian symbols, in terms of the residence, the palace, some of the army barracks, the university campus. A lot of innocent people are dead on the street. The truce we were seeking with the army to be able to clear those dead on the street, and then evacuate some of the wounded to the hospital. That was the aim of the ceasefire yesterday."

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1108Isaan Inyong in Zimbabwe, writes: "These are just the kicks of a dying horse.The civil war was unwarranted. He must have just accepted defeat. He caused unnecessary suffering, deaths and displacements to the people and he deserves to be imprisoned. He can never negotiate because its too late.This must set examples for the likes of the Mugabes who have been defeated and resorted to violence and suppression."

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1102Henry Tumusiime in Arua, Uganda, writes: "The window for negotiations given to Gbagbo was not deserved. He lost the elections, he lost the battles and he lost the war which was not necessary. They should have picked him up yeasterday and sent him to the ICC to allow for the recovery of the cocoa nation."

1100 French news channel BFMTV tweets: "Ivory Coast: the pro-Ouattara were driven back by pro-Gbagbo near the presidential palace. (tweet in French: "Cote d'Ivoire : les pro-Ouattara ont été repoussés par les pro-Gbagbo près du palais présidentiel")

1058Mr Ouattara's forces, who are storming the residence of Mr Gbagbo, have been ordered not to kill him, a spokesman for Mr Ouattara told Reuters. "It has never been nor is it the intention of anyone in the Ouattara camp to assassinate former president Gbagbo," Patrick Achi said. "Alassane Ouattara has given formal instructions that Gbagbo is to be kept alive because we want to bring him to justice".

1044A diplomat who speaks to Mr Ouattara frequently has told AP that Mr Ouattara is aware of the danger involved at this stage, because if Mr Gbagbo is killed it may galvanise his supporters.

1040 Pope Benedict XVI has called for an immediate end to the fighting in Ivory Coast and Libya, saying all sides should launch peace efforts "to stop further bloodshed".

1038Choi Young-jin, the top United Nations envoy in Ivory Coast told Associated Press TV that Mr Gbagbo's surrender was "imminent". "He accepted (the) principle of accepting the results of the election, so he doesn't have many cards in his hands. The key element they are negotiating is where Mr. Gbagbo would go."

1034Ivorian troops are continuing their siege on Mr Gbagbo's residence in Abidjan. AP reports that they have received strict instructions to take him unharmed, according to several members of the president's cabinet.

1030Mr Achi also said the situation in Abidjan was unsustainable. "There is no water or electricity for the 5 million inhabitants of Abidjan. There's bodies all over the streets and there's security issues. People are terrified. We cannot keep on going like that. Today hopefully these negotiations will get to an end, one way or another."

1029Earlier, Patrick Achi, Alassane Ouattara's spokesman in Abidjan, told BBC World Service he expected Mr Gbagbo to surrender within hours. "If he doesn't stand down within hours, Mr Ouattara's forces will go and get him. Not kill him. Mr Ouattara doesn't want to see him killed, he wants him to be brought to justice. The instruction given by Mr Ouattara so far is to get him alive. We need a trial. We need to have him brought to justice and be accountable for all he has done."

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1027Eliud Jela in Nairobi, Kenya, writes: "I think the international community has wasted so much time already. This matter should be brought to an end. Gbagbo should be arrested and handed over to the ICC. Obviously, he won't concede defeat.

1026A spokesperson for the French Licorne (Unicorn) forces in Ivory Coast, Frederic Daguillon, said his troops were not involved in the attack. "Licorne is not participating in the assault and is dedicating itself Wednesday to the protection of foreign citizens," he said. "Today the Licorne force will make contact with foreigners north of the bridges (linking the suburbs of Plateau and Treichville) to know if they would like to be placed under French protection."

1024France is denying claims by backers of Mr Gbagbo that French troops are attempting to stage an assassination attempt by attacking his residence and the presidential palace.

1020A spokesperson for Mr Ouattara's forces has told Reuters that their troops were now in Mr Gbagbo's building. "They are in the process of entering the residence to seize Gbagbo," Affousy Bamba said. "They have not taken him yet, but they are in the process. They are in the building."

1010Mr Alain said French forces are firing from two Puma helicopters and also from the rooftop of the French ambassador's residence nearby. French Military Spokesman Thierry Burkhard has denied that French forces are firing at the residence, AP reports.

1009Mr Gbagbo's European representative says that French forces have opened fire on the residence of Mr Gbagbo from helicopters and a nearby rooftop. Toussaint Alain told the Associated Press there was "real danger" that Mr Gbagbo, his wife and other family members who are holed up in the residence could be killed.

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1003Chuks Valentine in the Ivory Coast, writes: "I wonder how and when this problem will be over despite Mr Gbagbo's refusal to step down. Civilian people are in trouble: my family have no food to eat today, there's no money either and my shop has been vandalised by people saying to be Gbagbo's supporters. Finally if the problem is not solved by the end of the week, it means the UN and France have done nothing. The UN, France and Outtara - please do something!"

1000Liberia, which neighbours Ivory Coast to the west, is hosting some 120,000 people who have fled the fighting, and Liberian mercenaries have been reported to be fighting on both sides. President Johnson-Sirleaf added: "We're not out of the woods yet in Ivory Coast, in the sub region - we continue to pray, we continue to hope for the best and for better nights."

0958In an interview with BBC Network Africa earlier, Liberia's President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was asked if she thought it was the end for President Laurent Gbagbo: "I hope at this stage in the interests of his country and people that he will find a way to leave with a certain amount of honour and that he will also he will be allowed to part of the healing process."

0955 Jeanette Mallet tweets: "Many Abidjan residents now waking up and starting their 7th day w/o water. Many w/o electricity & food. Situation becoming desperate."

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0946Field-based press officer for Oxfam's humanitarian team and former BBC correspondent Caroline Gluck, writing for the Huffington Post, describes the plight of refugees from the Ivory Coast who have fled to Liberia: The Kouidé family fled their home, in the village of Oulai Taiibli, in Blolequin district, when armed men began attacking. There was no time to take any personal belongings. "We were really afraid and just ran with the children," said mother of six, Aimee Gaye. "We had to eat raw food and fruit in the forest and drank water from rivers and creeks."

0942John James said it feels like this is the closest the country has been to an endgame yet. He said Mr Gbagbo was increasingly isolated and surrounded by pro-Ouattara troops. Mr Gbagbo seems to be in a very weak position but is clearly not yet prepared to surrender, our correspondent says.

0937The BBC's John James in Abidjan says a couple of hours ago they heard heavy weaponry starting again and it seemed like forces were pounding Mr Gbagbo's residence.

0930Meanwhile, Dr Hamadoun Toure from the UN mission in Ivory Coast has told the BBC that on Tuesday they came close to negotiating Mr Gbagbo's departure from office, and that it was important to remain patient. "Yesterday we were almost there, I think things changed last night, late last night, of course we'll be able to mend fences and to see how to address all, I think detailed issues but the details are very important, they say the devil is in the detail so we have to clarify some, a couple of things surely for him and it might be resolved. Let's show patience," he said.

0927Reports of the storming of Mr Gbagbo's residence have not been verified. But a French government source has also told AFP he believed Mr Ouattara's troops were launching a final assault on the bunker in Abidjan.

0921Reuters is now reporting that a spokesperson said pro-Ouattara forces are storming Mr Gbagbo's residence.

0917Negotiations with Mr Gbagbo's camp to persuade him to leave have failed, a French government source has told AFP.

0915AFP has spoken to Sidiki Konate, a spokesperson for Mr Ouattara's forces, whose comments suggest that fighters are growing impatient with the lack of progress being made in negotiations. "We are going to take Laurent Gbagbo out of his hole and hand him over to the president of the republic. We are going to his residence to fetch him and put an end to this comedy...This charade must end because the country is collapsing," he told the news agency.

0910Asked what advice he would give defiant to Mr Gbagbo, Botswana's leader said: "First of all I don't think I'd want to waste my breath to give him advice. This is the kind of person that doesn't take advice. Very good people from the UN from the AU have tried to engage with him and he has just turned his back on them... The right thing for him would be to graciously just state categorically that fine - he's backing out. I don't think it's necessary for him to leave his country. He should just go to a farm somewhere, let the generally elected president take over and run that country."

0906Botswana's President Seretse Khama Ian Khama told the BBC's Network Africa it was unfortunate the situation in Ivory Coast "had to come to this just because one selfish man wants to hold on to power when he's not entitled to".

0902A spokesperson for forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara said they had gone to "fetch" Mr Gbagbo from his bunker, according to AFP.

0852A resident of Cocody, where Mr Gbagbo's house is located, told AFP: "We are hearing strong explosions and bursts of machine gun fire around the residence." And in the administrative district Plateau, home to the presidential palace, powerful explosions and machine gun fire could be heard, AFP journalists reported.

0850AFP news agency reports that heavy weapons fire has erupted around Mr Gbagbo's presidential palace and his residence.

0846Mr Juppe has said it is the UN that is leading the negotiations and that there are 12,000 UN troops involved in the Ivory Coast crisis compared to 1,500 French soldiers. "I remind you that we have a UN mandate," the foreign minister said. He said that France had asked the UN to guarantee the physical safety of Mr Gbagbo and his family.

0839Meanwhile, French armed forces chief Admiral Edouard Guillaud has said that "unfortunately I see no breakthrough for now", but said he believed an agreement could be made within hours. He has warned that strikes against Mr Gbagbo could resume if he refused to go.

0835Mr Juppe told the radio station: "This obstinacy is absurd. Gbagbo has no future henceforth. Everybody's dropped him. He's holed up in his residence. With the United Nations, which is at the helm, we are going to continue to exert pressure on him to face up to reality."

0831French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe says there is nothing left to discuss with Mr Gbagbo apart from his departure. "Everybody's dropped him," Mr Juppe told France Info radio in an interview.

0825In the latest development in Ivory Coast, disputed President Laurent Gbagbo has denied reports that he is planning to surrender. Diplomats said he had sent emissaries to negotiate on Tuesday and that talks had continued overnight. Mr Gbagbo remains holed up in a bunker surrounded by troops loyal to his rival, Alassane Ouattara - the internationally recognised winner of presidential polls in November.

0815 Hello from London and welcome to the BBC's live coverage of events in Ivory Coast. We'll be bringing you the breaking news, reports from our correspondents on the ground, expert analysis and your reaction from around the world. You can contact us via email, text or twitter. We'll publish what we can.

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