UN mission in Cote d'Ivoire says 7 women killed in pro-Ouattara march

17:02, March 04, 2011      

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Seven women were killed in a clash on Thursday in Cote d'Ivoire's economic capital Abidjan, which has turned into a battleground between the rival forces since the Nov. 28 presidential election, according to the UN peacekeeping mission in the West African country.

The bloodshed occurred again in Abidjan's hotspot, the district of Abobo, where supporters of Alassane Ouattara concentrate.

A pro-Ouattara march by hundreds of women was violently repressed by forces loyal to Cote d'Ivoire's incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo.

"Six women died on the spot and the seventh one died in hospital where she had been rushed to," said the spokesman of the United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (ONUCI), Hamadoun Toure.

A resident of this district told Xinhua security forces shot and killed some of the women who were demonstrating against the "grabbing" of power by Gbagbo to the detriment of Ouattara, who is internationally recognized as the president-elect.

A senior police officer told Xinhua a different story. "A Republican Guard tank shot at a crowd of youths who had tried to erect barricades in Abobo district," he said, adding only five people were killed.

In Abobo, heavy fighting has been reported for days between the Security and Defense Forces (FDS) loyal to Gbagbo and "a mysterious commando," a reference to fighters from the ex-rebel New Forces, which supports Ouattara and has controlled the northern part of the country since the 2002-2003 Civil War.

Clashes around Abobo have left at least 26 people dead and hundreds more injured in the past days. Fighting in Cote d'Ivoire has also provoked the displacement of more than 200,000 people, sparking a fear of Somalia-style warfare.

ONUCI warned on Thursday that the security situation in Cote d'Ivoire was "very worrying" since in the last one week alone, 50 people died. This figure brings the post-election toll to nearly 400.

Source: Xinhua

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