Clashes between United Nations troops and government supporters in Ivory Coast have killed several civilians and forced the peacekeepers to leave their bases.
Meanwhile youths have blocked main roads in Abidjan, the economic capital, for a third day. They are angry at international mediators deciding not to renew the mandate of parliament, which largely backs President Laurent Gbagbo. That led to Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front announcing it was pulling out of the peace process. Following a failed coup d’etat, the 2002 civil war left the country divided into a government-controlled south and rebel-held north. The clashes in Guiglo early on Wednesday saw Bangladeshi peacekeepers quit the area. Gbagbo’s party has demanded the withdrawal of more than 7,000 UN personnel and 4,000 French soldiers who have been maintaining a shaky peace. This week’s demonstrations have been much smaller than protests 14 months ago, when 8,000 Westerners were evacuated as so-called Young Patriots attacked French citizens. The chief of France’s defence staff has urged the international community to start enforcing sanctions on Ivory Coast which were agreed in 2004.