Ivory Coast Fighting Rages Amid Report of Massacre

Laurent Gbagbo rallies his forces; 800 reported killed in town
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 2, 2011 2:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – With most of the country now controlled by his opponent, and with both his home and the presidential palace surrounded, Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo today issued a final call to arms to defend his 10-year grip on power. Gbagbo's forces got a rare bit of good news when they retook the state television station in Abidjan, where fierce fighting again raged. Still, forces loyal to the country's democratically elected leader, Alassane Ouattara, have made remarkable headway in just five days.

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But the week's fighting has taken a huge toll. On Tuesday, the day after Ouattara's forces took the western town of Duekoue, intercommunal fighting killed at least 800 people, according to the Red Cross. A Catholic charity put the death toll closer to 1,000. "There has been too much bloodshed, including hundreds of civilians killed or wounded," said UN chief Ban Ki-moon. "I renew my call on Mr. Gbagbo to step down." (Read more Ivory Coast stories.)

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