Fighting in Ivory Coast town kills at least 800 people, Red Cross says


DUEKOUE, IVORY COAST (BNO NEWS) — At least 800 people have been killed in the Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) town of Duékoué this week in ongoing fighting between troops loyal to the disputed presidents, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported on Saturday.

Fighting between the troops has escalated dramatically this week, with reports that those supporting Alassane Ouattara, the internationally-recognized president, are preparing for a final push to oust Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to step aside following his defeat in the UN-certified presidential election held in November.

In the western town of Duékoué alone, the ICRC said, at least 800 people including many civilians were killed on Tuesday. The death toll was confirmed by an ICRC team which visited the town on Thursday.

“This event is particularly shocking because of its scale and brutality,” said Dominique Liengme, the head of the ICRC delegation in Ivory Coast. “The ICRC condemns direct attacks on civilians and reiterates the obligation of parties involved to ensure the protection of civilians in all circumstances.”

In addition to the fatalities, ICRC found that tens of thousands of people have fled the fighting and looting that took place in the town since Monday.

Earlier on Saturday, the United Nations urged troops loyal to Ouattara to show restraint amid reports that they allegedly committed serious human rights violations during their advance towards the country’s commercial capital of Abidjan.

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