The battle for control of Cote d'Ivoire appears to be reaching a climax as forces loyal to the internationally recognised president, Alassane Ouattara, attacked the presidential palace in Abidjan to try to unseat the incumbent leader, Laurent Gbagbo.
The UN says both sides should rein in violent attacks, as civilians are caught up in fighting.
But as the offensive continues, what lies ahead for Cote d'Ivoire remains uncertain.
Is the country sliding into civil war? And would an outside intervention bring the conflict to an end?
Inside Story discusses.
This episode of Inside Story aired on Friday, April 1, 2011.