UN accuses Gbagbo forces of shooting civilians

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UN accuses Gbagbo forces of shooting civilians

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UN peacekeepers in Ivory Coast say forces loyal to incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo have opened fire on civilians in the main city of Abidjan, killing around 10 people.

They also accuse groups of pro-Gbagbo youths of burning a man alive and attacking two groups of UN staff.

There has been no immediate comment on the accusations from Gbagbo’s camp.

Up to one million people have fled Abidjan because of the fighting, according to the UN refugee agency. A backlash has been reported against West Africans accused by Gbagbo loyalists of supporting the rebellion.

Issa Dayabou, a Nigerian fish salesman, said he lived in Williamsville, the area of northern Abidjan where the UN claims the shootings took place.

“There are people who come there, into our courtyards, they rape the women and hit the men, and if you put up a fight, they kill you,” he said.

Forces loyal to Gbagbo’s electoral rival Alassane Ouattara have reportedly seized the towns of Duékoué, Daloa and Bondoukou in a new offensive from their northern powerbase.

Ouattara’s militia also patrol large parts of Abidjan. The fighting has rekindled Ivory Coast’s civil war.

Gbagbo has refused to step down since November’s disputed election, which UN-certified results showed Ouattara won.