Cote d'Ivoire

Six killed in Cote d'Ivoire stir fears of civil war


Security forces loyal to Côte d'Ivoire's strongman Laurent Gbagbo killed at least six women who were part of a demonstration in support of rival Alassane Ouattara on Thursday. 


The incident occured in the Abobo neighbourhood of Abidjan, an Ouattara stronghold.

UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy said he told the UN Security Council there were "six to eight (dead) by heavy machine guns".

He added UN peacekeepers were "immediately" on the scene.

"The situation is clearly deteriorating", Le Roy said.

"We are on the verge of civil war, it is very clear. Violence is increasing."

The US State Department said the attack highlighted the "moral bankruptcy" of Gbagbo, and the UN Security Council issued a statement saying they "condemn the threats, obstructions and acts of wanton violence".

Ouattara was named by the UN, African Union and Ecowas regional group as winner of last November's presidential election.

Gbagbo has refused to step down, and demands the UN leave the country.

Youssoufou Bamba, the Ivorian ambassador to the UN named by Ouattara, said UN troops had to take much "tougher" action to protect civilians.

He accused Gbagbo of committing "genocide" and said Ivorian officials had met the International Criminal Court about the case.

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