4 dead as forces raid Ivory Coast neighbourhood

4 dead as forces raid Ivory Coast neighbourhood

United Nations peacekeepers arriving in a convoy of 13 vehicles were forced by a mob to make a U-turn as they attempted to enter the area. Young men allied with incumbent Laurent Gbagbo amassed on the highway, wielding sticks and throwing large objects in their path.

PK 18, where the early morning raid occurred yesterday, is part of Abobo, an Abidjan district that supported Alassane Ouattara, who won the November 28 election with a margin of over half a million votes, according to results verified by the United Nations.

He has been recognised as the president-elect by the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and the United States, but international pressure has not been able to dislodge the 65-year-old Gbagbo.

He accuses the UN of bias after it endorsed Ouattara's victory and is refusing to leave office. He is backed by the army as well as a militant youth group that has been organising daily rallies including one planned for yesterday near PK 18 to warn the international community against interfering in Ivory Coast.

Residents and the mayor of the area say police awoke them between 4 and 5 am and began conducting house-to-house searches accusing them of hiding arms. A 39-year-old mother of five said the soldiers burst in and told her and her children to lie down on the floor. One of them placed his boot on Habiba Traore's back, as the others opened her suitcase and went through her belongings. They made off with cash as well as her husband's pants and two shirts, she said.

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