Fire breaks out at Ivory Coast finance ministry

February 8, 2011 18:06

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast  — A fire broke out at Ivory Coast's economic ministry building in the capital destroying untold numbers of financial records as international sanctions on incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to give up power, were beginning to take hold.

The fire engulfed five stories of the high-rise building Tuesday before being brought under control by firefighters.

Firefighters on the scene refused to speculate on the cause of the fire, though it came as Gbagbo is facing increasing pressure to meet his financial obligations.

Last month, the regional central bank cut his government off from the state treasury in favor of Alassane Ouattara, the man the international community says won November's presidential election. Gbagbo responded by seizing all the bank's offices in the country.

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