Deadly Violence Erupts in Ivory Coast

Published on Tuesday 11th January 2011

Gunfire has erupted in Ivory Coast's commercial capital, killing at least two two people as the political power struggle continued in the West African nation.Witnesses say violence broke out Tuesday in the city of Abidjan between security forces loyal to incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo and supporters of Allassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of a presidential poll in November.The clashes took place in a pro-Ouattara neighborhood called Abobo.The Associated Press reports U.N. peacekeepers retreated from the neighborhood after security forces opened fire.Mr. Ouattara remains holed up in an Abidjan hotel protected by U.N. peacekeepers.The incumbent president, who continues to maintain control of the military, refuses to give up power despite intense international pressure to do so.Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga is expected to return to Ivory Coast this week in an effort to mediate an end not the impasse.  Mr. Odinga serves as the African Union's mediator in the country.Separately, the U.N. refugee agency says 25,000 Ivorians have fled to Liberia because of they fear the political crisis will lead to widespread violence.On Monday, Ivory Coast's ambassador to the United Nations said Mr. Ouattara would form a unity government with members of incumbent  president Laurent Gbagbo's party, if Mr. Gbagbo steps down first.Youssoufou Bamba told British TV that Mr. Gbagbo has "competent people in his party" and that Mr. Ouattara is prepared to work with them "in the framework of a wide, composite cabinet."
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.


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