At least 800 killed in I. Coast's Duekoue: ICRC

2nd April 2011, Comments 0 comments

"At least 800 people" have been killed during fighting for control of Ivory Coast's western city of Duekoue, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Friday.

"At least 800 people were killed in Duekoue on Tuesday," an ICRC spokeswoman in Geneva, Dorothea Krimitsas, told AFP, adding that information on the death toll had been gathered by Red Cross representatives who visited the area on Thursday and Friday.

"There is no doubt that something on a large scale took place in this city, on which the ICRC is continuing to gather information," she said, adding that Red Cross representatives had "themselves seen a very large number of bodies".

The report came as forces loyal to the country's cornered strongman Laurent Gbagbo were fighting off an attack by his rival's army and fighting shook Abidjan.

Under immense foreign pressure and besieged by internationally recognised president Alassane Ouattara's forces in the economic capital, Gbagbo was nonethless clinging to power -- with his allies insisting he was relaxing at home with his wife.

The United States, France, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon and the African Union urged Gbagbo to step down immediately, citing concerns over citizens caught up in the country's bloody post-election conflict.

© 2011 AFP

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