Abidjan: Security forces loyal to Ivory Coast
strongman Laurent Gbagbo shot dead at least six women at a
demonstration today in support of his rival for the
presidency, witnesses said.
They started shooting as several hundred women gathered
in the Abobo neighbourhood of Abidjan, a stronghold of
Alassane Ouattara, and shouted "Gbagbo, get out!" and
"Alassane for president", a resident said.
When the Defence and Security Forces, the army backing
Gbagbo, arrived with an armoured vehicle, "they opened fire,"
another resident said.
"Six women were killed on the spot," he said.
Other witnesses said the toll was higher and there were
many wounded, some by gunfire and others in a stampede that
followed the shooting.
Violent clashes have erupted in the west African country
since a disputed election on November 28 which Ouattara is
internationally recognised to have won.
Gbagbo, who has been in power since 2000, has refused to
About 300 people had been killed in the violence and
thousands have fled, according to UN figures, and there are
fears of a return to civil war.
Ouattara has the support of much of the international
community, including the United Nations. The African Union has
set up a team of heads of state to find a way out of the
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned
today that civilians were at grave risk from the flare-up of
violence in Abidjan and also in the west of Ivory Coast, which
is the world`s leading cocoa producer.
"A humanitarian crisis is unfolding as people flee the
fighting," Pillay told the UN Human Rights Council. "I remain
extremely concerned about the increasing violence and human
rights abuses in Ivory Coast."