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Cote d'Ivoire crisis deepens with new clash reported

01-04-2011 16:34 BJT

ABIDJAN, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Eight people were killed on Monday in the latest wave of clashes between supporters of Cote d'Ivoire's incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and his presidential rival Alassane Ouattara.

Witnesses told Xinhua on phone that the confrontations broke out in Duekoue, 600 km west of the economic capital Abdijan.

The flare followed an announcement that an influential trader backing Ouattara had been shot dead along the Duekoue-Bangolo road in the west of the country. His sympathizers linked the killing to a group of youths allied to Gbagbo.

Violent confrontations ensued within the town center, with each camp calling for reinforcement.

The situation degenerated when the two camps started using firearms, leading to the casualties including eight slain people and dozens injured.

The biggest market in Duekoue was set on fire during the clashes.

Hundreds of citizens fled from the fighting and took refuge at a nearby Catholic church.

Soldiers from the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) based in the region were deployed in the town to form a buffer zone between the protagonists.

A lull returned in the night to the town of Duekoue, where observers reported considerable damage to property.

According to the United Nations, more than 170 people have died in post-election violence, which has also forced 19,000 refugees to flee to neighboring Liberia and Guinea.

Both Gbagbo and Ouattara claim to have won the Nov. 28 presidential run-off. Ouattara is recognized as the winner by the West African country's electoral commission and the international community. Gbagbo was declared the winner by the country's Constitutional Council.

The country has plunged into a quagmire with the international community intensifying pressure on Gbagbo to quit and the latter refusing to go.

Cote d'Ivoire risks another open conflict after suffering the 2001-2003 civil war, which results in the New Forces-controlled north and the pro-Gbagbo south.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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