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Africa

Pro-Gbagbo police killed in clashes with Ouattara supporters

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-12

At least five policemen were killed in Abidjan on Wednesday, a day after four people died in clashes between supporters of rival presidential candidates Alassane Ouattara and incumbent Laurent Gbagbo.

REUTERS - At least five policemen were killed in Abidjan early on Wednesday in a second day of fighting as security forces loyal to Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo clashed with backers of rival Alassane Ouattara, witnesses said.

Witnesses said sustained gunfire and what sounded like explosions from heavier weapons rang out for several hours from across the pro-Ouattara neighbourhood of Abobo, a day after clashes there killed at least five people, three of them members
of the security forces.
 
The world's top cocoa producer has been in turmoil since a Nov. 28 presidential election that both Ouattara and Gbagbo claim to have won.
 
"There was heavy firing and explosions from around 2 a.m. I and my family are terrified. We couldn't sleep at all," said witness Adama Toure, who lives in Abobo.
 
Mamadou Kante, also an Abobo resident, said he saw four police vehicles burned, with at least four bodies of policemen inside near Abobo town hall. A source in Ivorian military intelligence, who could not be named, confirmed that four vehicles had been burned and four police died inside them.
 
The source gave no further details.
 
Another witness in a different area, Abdoulaye Cisse, said: "I've never heard such loud weapons firing here. From the bottom of my apartment, I saw the body of one policeman."
 
Ouattara was proclaimed victor by the electoral commission and has been recognised by world leaders, but Gbagbo, who has ruled the country for a decade, retains control of the military and police. The standoff risks rekindling a 2002-3 civil war that divided the country in two.
 
Violence has led to the deaths of more than 200 people since the poll, and fears of further conflict have prompted more than 20,000 people to flee into neighbouring Liberia, according to U.N. figures.
 
The United Nations says many among the dead were killed by pro-Gbagbo security forces or allied militias in regular nighttime raids on neighbourhoods, like Abobo, that are seen as pro-Ouattara. Hundreds of other people may have been abducted and taken to secret detention centres, U.N. officials fear.
 
 

Date created : 2011-01-12

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