Laurent Gbagbo's access to state funds is being cut off, stepping up pressure on the man who refuses to concede defeat amid post-election violence that has killed at least 173 people and prompted fears of civil war. The move is expected to complicate Gbagbo's efforts to pay civil servants and soldiers. Allies of his political rival, Alassane Ouattara, hope the move will set the stage for mass defections if people don't get their checks.
Officials with the West African economic and monetary union made the announcement after an emergency session, and later said in a statement that only representatives of Ouattara's government will have signing privileges on state accounts. The regional bank, known by its acronym BCEAO, regroups the treasuries of eight West African countries. (Read more Laurent Gbagbo stories.)