Army chief for Ivory Coast strongman leaves refuge

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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — South Africa’s foreign ministry says the army chief for Ivory Coast’s entrenched strongman has left their embassy in Abidjan after seeking refuge there last week.

Spokesman Clayson Monyela says Gen. Phillippe Mangou Mangou left Sunday. He could not say where Mangou was headed, or whether he would rejoin Laurent Gbagbo after his desertion last week.

“I can only confirm that he left the embassy,” said Monyela, who was reached by telephone in Johannesburg.

Mangou sought refuge along with his wife and five children as an army aiming to install Gbagbo’s rival amassed on the outskirts of Abidjan.

Abidjan has for days been tensely awaiting the final assault by an armed group aiming to topple Gbagbo and install democratically elected president Alassane Ouattara.