UNHCR says 2,000 fled ICoast post-election crisis

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Some 2,000 people have fled Ivory Coast following last week's presidential elections which led to deadly violence, the UN refugee agency said Friday.

"UNHCR is closely following the post-electoral crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, which has already led some 2,000 Ivorians, mostly women and children, to seek safety in neighbouring Liberia and Guinea," Andrej Mahecic, UNHCR spokesman said.

Of these refugees, 1,700 have crossed into Nimba county of northeastern Liberia while another 200 have arrived in Guinea's Nzerekore region after walking two days.

The refugees from west Ivory Coast, said their move was "precautionary, prompted by fears of instability and violence as the political deadlock persists."

Although they are reported to be in good physical condition, most of them urgently need food and shelter, noted Mahecic.

At least 17 people have been killed in election-related clashes in Ivory Coast in the past two weeks and there have been unconfirmed reports of other violence around the country.

UN-endorsed results gave Alassane Ouattara victory, but Laurent Gbagbo has refused to relax his 10-year grip on power in the West African nation, the world's biggest cocoa producer.

© 2010 AFP

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