Ten thousand flee west Ivory Coast ethnic violence: ICRC

7th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

More than 10,000 people have sought refuge in a Catholic mission in the western Ivory Coast town of Duekoe following communal violence there this week, the international Red Cross said on Friday.

At least 14 people were killed in the clashes between members of the Guere and Malinke ethnic groups that erupted on January 3 following the death of a woman during a robbery, according to the United Nations.

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spokesman Steven Anderson declined to draw a direct link between the clashes and post-election tensions, mirroring the stance taken by the UN mission in the country.

Anderson told AFP that the ICRC had treated 80 people wounded in the clashes while about 10,000 had taken refuge "in the town's Catholic mission", which was now "completely submerged."

They joined people who had fled similar violence there last month, according to the Geneva-based humanitarian agency.

"We estimate that a total of 12,000 displaced people are spending the night there but the figure fluctuates," an ICRC delegate in Ivory Coast said in a statement.

More displaced had also arrived in other areas, while tents, water, latrines and other supplies were being set up, partly to cope with new arrivals.

Simon Munzu, a spokesman at the UN Mission in Ivory Coast (UNOCI), said Thursday that while the UN did not tie the violence to the standoff between presidential rivals Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, it felt the clashes were "a reflection of the tendency towards intercommunal tension and violence."

© 2011 AFP

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