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Mobile clinics are treating Ivorian refugees in Liberia © Katrin Kisswani, MSF
Ivory Coast

Battles rage in Ivory Coast between rebels and government forces

Tens of thousands of refugees are said to have fled into neighbouring Liberia as the violence worsens.

ARMED CONFLICT IS continuing in Ivory Coast with the country’s six-year ceasefire on the brink of collapse.

Rebels controlling the northern part of the country say they have seized a western town in the government controlled territory in the south, according to Reuters Africa.

Forces that are becoming known as ‘invisible commandos’ are said to have the backing of opposition leader Alassane Ouatarra, reports the Washington Post.

Ouatarra is widely recognised as having won last November’s disputed presidential election which has sparked the unrest.

On Thursday the opposition forces claimed they had killed 27 members of the security forces loyal to incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to cede power despite international pressure.

The political turmoil has caused rising tensions in the country with the violence reported to have claimed the lives of over 300 people.

Médicins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) say there are reports that more than 38,000 Ivorians have fled their country into neighbouring Liberia.

MSF has set up mobile clinics to provide health care to the refugees as well as the local population.

Katrin Kisswani, MSF project co-ordinator in the area said in a statement:

Ivorians have sought refuge in about 70 villages along the border. They say that they have fled their country because they were fearing violence.

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