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Rebels take over 30-mile border stretch as Ivory Coast violence continues

Meanwhile, women take to the streets of Abidjan to protests against violence which killed at least seven unarmed woman last week.

Women's organiser Betty Nguessan in today's march of mourning for post-election violence victims.
Women's organiser Betty Nguessan in today's march of mourning for post-election violence victims.
Image: AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

REBELS FORCES ALIGNED WITH Ivory Coast opposition leader Alassane Ouattara have seized control of a corridor almost 30 miles wide along the country’s border with Liberia.

Two of the towns now controlled by the rebels have historically been under Laurent Gbagbo’s influence.

Gbagbo continues to refuse to step down after claiming victory in the country’s presidential elections months ago, despite the Ivory Coast’s electoral committee declaring Ouattara the winner.

Almost 400 people have been killed so far in the violence surrounding the election outcome. One Ivorian human rights campaigner told IRIN that people are being burned alive and hacked to death with machetes in the streets of the capital, Abidjan.

Hundreds of women gathered in Abidjan today to mark International Women’s Day and protest the killing of seven unarmed female protesters last week. The women were shot by soldiers loyal to Gbagbo during an all-women’s demonstration against his continued rule.

AllAfrica reports that the African Union, which had warned of retaliation if Gbagbo did not step down, was expected to pass a resolution at the end of February, but has still not done so. The AU recognises Ouattara as the official winner of the election and has held emergency talks with Gbagbo to urge him to resign.

- Includes reporting from the AP

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