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Political Violence Kills 5 in Ivory Coast

A group of Young Patriots, youth supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, blockade a road to prevent a UN convoy from passing in Abobo neighborhood of Abidjan, 11 Jan 2011

Clashes in Ivory Coast's commercial capital on Tuesday killed at least five people during the political impasse about who will lead the country.

Witnesses say violence broke out in the city of Abidjan between security forces loyal to incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo and supporters of Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of a presidential poll in November.

The clashes took place in a pro-Ouattara neighborhood called Abobo, where a militant youth group that backs the incumbent president had planned to meet on Tuesday.

Mr. Gbagbo, who continues to control the military, refuses to give up power despite intense international pressure to do so.

Mr. Ouattara remains holed up in an Abidjan hotel protected by U.N. peacekeepers.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga is expected to return to Ivory Coast this week in an effort to mediate an end to the impasse. Mr. Odinga serves as the African Union's mediator in the country.

Separately, the U.N. refugee agency says 25,000 Ivorians have fled to Liberia because they fear the political crisis will lead to widespread violence.