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Incumbent’s backers raid Ivory Coast area

Young supporters of Laurent Gbagbo advanced yesterday toward an arriving UN convoy in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Young supporters of Laurent Gbagbo advanced yesterday toward an arriving UN convoy in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
(Rebecca Blackwell/ Associated Press)
Associated Press / January 12, 2011

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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Security forces loyal to Ivory Coast’s incumbent leader, who refuses to cede power, fired volleys of gunshots yesterday, leaving at least four people dead after they cordoned off a large section of a neighborhood known to be his rival’s stronghold.

United Nations peacekeepers arriving in a convoy of 13 vehicles were forced by a mob to make a U-turn as they attempted to enter the area. Young men allied with incumbent Laurent Gbagbo amassed on the highway, wielding sticks and throwing large objects in their path.

PK 18, where the early-morning raid occurred, is part of Abobo, an Abidjan district that supported Alassane Ouattara, who won the Nov. 28 election with a margin of over half a million votes, according to results verified by the United Nations.

He has been recognized as the president-elect by the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, and the United States, but international pressure has not been able to dislodge Gbagbo. He is refusing to leave office. A militant youth group allied with Gbagbo has been organizing daily rallies to warn the international community against interfering in Ivory Coast.

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