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UN Says More than 50 Killed in Ivory Coast


U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay (File Photo)

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay (File Photo)

The United Nations is reporting a wave of killings and abductions in Ivory Coast, where incumbent leader Laurent Gbgabo is refusing to give up power.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, issued a statement Sunday saying more than 50 people have been killed and more than 200 injured in violence since Thursday.

Pillay said there is growing evidence of "massive violations of human rights" in Ivory Coast. The U.N. mission says it has received hundreds of reports of people being kidnapped from their homes by armed men in military uniform.

Pillay did not say who the U.N. thinks is to blame for the alleged killings and kidnappings.

Tension is running high in Ivory Coast, as Mr. Gbagbo resists calls to cede power to Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of last month's presidential election.

On Saturday, the U.N. rejected a demand from Mr. Gbagbo that French and U.N. peacekeepers leave the country. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said the troops will monitor and document any human rights violations, incitement to hatred or violence, or attacks on peacekeepers.

Mr. Gbagbo's youth leader, Charles Ble-Goude, has called on his militia to kick out the 10,000 U.N. and 900 French peacekeepers by Friday.

Several hundred peacekeepers are protecting the Abidjan hotel that serves as Mr. Ouattara's headquarters.

On Sunday, Britain advised its nationals to leave Ivory Coast, citing the mounting political tension and the threat of violence. A British travel advisory noted that borders and airports in Ivory Coast were closed earlier this month, and could close again if the situation deteriorates.

The power struggle has led to fears of renewed conflict in Ivory Coast, although officials on both sides have said they want to avoid war.

The country is trying to recover from a 2002 civil war that left it divided into rebel- and government-controlled territories. The presidential election was meant to restore stability to the West African country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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