Belgians advised to leave Ivory Coast

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Belgium on Thursday advised against travel to Ivory Coast and called on citizens already there to quit the country for the time being due to the likelihood of trouble.

Issued before gunbattles erupted in the streets of the Ivorian economic capital, Abidjan, the foreign ministry said "there is a risk of deterioration of the security situation very soon".

"We advise strongly against going to Ivory Coast at the moment," it added.

The 300-odd Belgian residents in the West African nation were advised "to leave temporarily".

At least four people were shot dead in Abidjan on Thursday when supporters of Alassane Ouattara, recognised by the international community as winner of a November presidential poll, tried to march on state television headquarters.

But soldiers deployed by incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who is refusing to step down, set up a cordon around the broadcaster and clashed with Ouattara supporters.

© 2010 AFP

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