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Ivory Coast death toll rises

Ivory Coast death toll rises
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Heavy fighting is continuing in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Abidjan, as rival forces battle for control after last November’s election.

Former President Laurent Gbagbo has refused to cede power to Alassane Ouattara, whom the international community recognises as having won the poll.

Heavy gunfire has been reported around the presidential palace as well as the state broadcaster RTI.

The International Committee of the Red Cross now estimates that at least 800 people were killed in intercommunal violence last Tuesday alone, in the western town of Duekoue.

As the scale of the violence escalates, state TV showed Gbagbo outside his home on Saturday.

By constrast he appeared to be in a jovial and relaxed mood, as he hugged his daughter and joked with supporters and aides.

Meanwhile, French soldiers have been drafted in to protect foreign nationals . Around 500 people, a third of whom are French, have been taken to a military camp for their own safety.

It’s estimated that around 1300 people have died in the conflict so far. The actual figure is likely to rise much higher