UN Probes Reports of Ivory Coast Mass Graves

200 feared dead in post-election violence
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2011 6:15 AM CST
Bangladeshi Police officers outside the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where opposition leader Alassane Ouattara is staying.    (AP Photo / Marc Chown Oved)
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(Newser) – As reports of mass graves and other atrocities pile up in Ivory Coast, UN peacekeepers have been tasked with investigating—but gaining access to affected areas may be easier said than done, reports the Guardian. The UN suspects that some 80 bodies may be housed in a building in a capital-city neighborhood loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, but investigators have been prevented from entering it on several visits by armed men. The UN mission in Ivory Coast has reason to believe a second mass grave exists as well.

The UN has said that the volatile nation risks falling back into civil war, but the opposition said it was already too late. "In any country that records more than 200 dead in five days, as the UN has certified, it's war," said Alassane Ouattara's prime minister. Pressure continues to build on Gbagbo to step down, as three west African presidents said they would once again meet with Gbagbo and urge him to step down.

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