Thousands Flee Ivory Coast, Fearing Violence

At least 14,000 have walked to Liberia
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 25, 2010 4:48 PM CST
UN forces drive past a roadblock placed by government troops in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010.   (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

(Newser) – Another ominous predictor of a violent end to the political paralysis in the Ivory Coast: At least 14,000 refugees have made the arduous trek to Liberia, reports CNN. The exodus follows the refusal of President Laurent Gbabgo to relinquish office, despite the opinion of pretty much the rest of the world that he lost November's election to Alassane Ouattara. An organization of West African states warned yesterday that it wouldn't hesitate to use force if Gbabgo doesn't change his mind soon.

As for the fleeing civilians: "Some are arriving with severely swollen feet, like a 75-year-old man whom we transferred from Butuo, one of the main entry points into Liberia," says the UN agency helping them. "Some families said they had walked three to four days through the bush with little food."

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