Four Killed in Latest Ivory Coast Violence

Published on Tuesday 8th March 2011

Witnesses in Ivory Coast say at least four people have been killed following a march against the rule of incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo.Reports from the main city of Abidjan say security forces opened fire in the neighborhood of Treichville Tuesday, killing three men and a woman.  Several hundred women had marched in the same area hours earlier to protest against Gbagbo and the shooting deaths of seven women during a similar protest last week.Gbagbo is refusing to give up power to Alassane Ouattara, the internationally-recognized winner of November's presidential election.  Ivory Coast has endured three months of increasing violence and chaos as the dispute drags on.Earlier Tuesday, a spokesman for Gbagbo's party said he will not attend an African Union meeting aimed at resolving the political crisis.The spokesman told VOA French to Africa service that Gbagbo will be represented at the meeting in Ethiopia Thursday by his party's leader, Pascal Affi N'Guessan.There was no immediate comment from the camp of Mr. Ouattara, who has said he will attend the meeting.A panel of African heads of state is trying to settle the Ivory Coast political crisis.  Previous mediation efforts by leaders from the AU and the west African bloc ECOWAS have failed.The United Nations says at least 365 people have died in post-election violence in Ivory Coast, many of them in fighting between Gbagbo and Ouattara supporters in Abidjan.Mr. Gbagbo has moved to counter economic sanctions against his government by seizing control of banks and announcing on Monday that he is nationalizing the country's cocoa industry.Since early December, Ouattara has remained barricaded in an Abidjan hotel, protected by U.N. peacekeepers but surrounded by pro-Gbagbo security forces.  
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.



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