Aid group alarmed by violence in Ivory Coast

3rd April 2011, Comments 0 comments

The aid organisation Medecins sans Frontieres on Sunday voiced alarm over the number of wounded people flooding into its medical centres in the western Ivory Coast.

MSF said the influx was a sign that "violence is continuing in the zone", six days after supporters of internationally recognised election winner Alassane Ouattara began an offensive to oust president Laurent Gbagbo.

It reported that medical supplies and medicine were beginning to run out and that the fighting was hampering access to the injured.

"There is real concern for some patients, who can practically no longer be treated in Ivory Coast," it said in a statement.

Human rights abuses and massacres have been reported in the west, notably in the western town of Duekoue where the International Red Cross said 800 died in one day.

The Catholic mission Caritas reported 1,000 were "killed or disappeared" while the UN mission gave an initial death toll of 330, accusing fighters from both camps of involvement in the mass killings.

"The situation remains extremely tense and violent in and around several towns in the west of Ivory Coast," MSF said.

"Although fighting between armed forces in the main towns of the west ended on March 31, more wounded are continuing to flood into Danane, Man and Bangolo."

"The number of new wounded is extremely worrying and indicates that violence is continuing in this zone," Renzo Fricke, in charge of emergencies at the non-governmental organisation, was quoted as saying.

MSF said that on Friday, around 20 wounded people arrived in its facilities in Bangolo, of whom 10 were still awaiting surgery on Sunday.

In total, between Tuesday and Saturday, 195 people with bullet or machete wounds had been treated by emergency services in Danane, Man and Bangolo, while MSF's mobile clinic teams were treating more than 500 patients a day, Fricke said.

"Across the country, the medical structures can no longer get hold of the medicine or the basic medical supplies. ... The needs are huge," MSF said.

It said the situation was equally worrying in the economic capital Abidjan, where rival forces have been locked in a battle for control for several days.

© 2011 AFP

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