"Côte d'Ivoire has entered a renewed period of extreme political instability following a contested presidential election designed to cap an often forestalled peace process. The election was held under the terms of the 2007 Ouagadougou Political Agreement, the most recent in a series of partially implemented peace accords aimed at reunifying Côte d'Ivoire, which has remained largely divided between a government-controlled southern region and a rebel-controlled zone in the north since the outbreak of a civil war in 2002. In the past week, a renewed rebel offensive captured key towns in western and central Côte d'Ivoire, including the administrative capital, Yamoussoukro, and there was intense fighting in Abidjan, the commercial capital and government stronghold. On April 4, French forces seized control of the Abidjan airport, and French troops and international peacekeepers fired on government targets. These actions were defended as necessary to enable evacuations of foreigners and the protection of civilians and United Nations personnel."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21989