THE SPECTER OF GENOCIDE
by Alex Perry
1 The woman had been trapped in her office for three days as fighting rocked the streets below and armed gangs roamed. Alexandra had survived on a package of cookies and two cans of soda. Finally, frantic that a promised rescue by a U.N. convoy did not materialize, she ran out of her building and into the dangerous streets, dashing two blocks to a nearby hotel. "This place is paradise," she said to the staff, who took her in and provided her with water and some food, even though they were running low. "This place is paradise."
2 On March 31, millions in the chic, sultry West African city of Abidjan, the center of power in lvory Coast, abandoned their wine bars, high-rise offices and four-lane highways. They barricaded their apartments and watched, terrified, as the battle for their nation swept into town. Forces allied with northerner Alassane Ouattara, who was elected President on Nov. 28, fought troops loyal to southerner Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent, who delayed an election for five years, then refused to go when he lost.
3 Mediation went nowhere, and from March 28 to 30, militias supporting Ouattara captured most of the country. But the battle for Abidjan, a city of 5 million, was always going to be bloody. Gbagbo had surrounded himself with thousands of troops and heavy weapons – mortars, mounted machine guns and artillery – and was believed to be in a bunker under the presidential residence. Its food supplies already low, the city ran so short of water that even Gbagbo's thugs were knocking on doors begging for a drink. Thirsty civilians braved gunfire to draw water from the city's polluted lagoons.
Time – April 18, 2011
According to the information in the article, on March 31
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