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Ivory Coast families trapped in church without food, water: UNHCR

UN refugee agency receiving increasing reports of violence and death amid the political uncertainty in Ivory Coast.

Civilians fleeing the violence pass a makeshift roadblock manned by youths armed with machetes and pipes on 27 February, 2010.
Civilians fleeing the violence pass a makeshift roadblock manned by youths armed with machetes and pipes on 27 February, 2010.
Image: AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

THE UN’S REFUGEE AGENCY says that up to 60 families in the Ivory Coast are trapped in a church without food or water by armed militants, as violence continues in the capital Abidjan.

The agency said it has been receiving reports of dead bodies, looting and burned-out vehicles.

It also said that it had heard reports of young militants attacking people in their own homes.

Violence erupted in the Ivory Coast after incumbent Laurent Gbagbo claimed victory in the presidential elections three months ago – despite the UN and election observers saying opposition politician Alassane Ouattara had won. Each has already formed their own cabinet.

The AP reports that hundreds of Ouattara’s supporters have been killed as the political stalemate continues.

The African Union has already called on Gbagbo to step down, and threatened to take action against him if he refused. The EU has banned European ships from docking at Ivory Coast. The political uncertainty has seen food prices rocket in Ivory Coast and some petrol stations have closed due to a fuel shortage.

- AP

[caption id="attachment_94526" align="alignnone" width="512" caption="A burnt-out bus sits on the road in Abobo, Abidjan, which has become a hub for street violence amid the ongoing political confusion. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)"][/caption]


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