UN: Violence, rape spread across Ivory Coast

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 21, 2011 02:37

 
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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — The United Nations warned that violence is spreading across Ivory Coast, citing nearly two dozen rapes in the country's west and one case where a political opponent was sexually tortured.

Local UN human rights chief Simon Munzu said Thursday that 23 women have been raped in the last week in western Ivory Coast, where 16,000 people have taken refuge since the disputed Nov. 28 presidential runoff vote. Another 29,000 people have fled across the border to Liberia.

"We regret that as a result of the ethnic crashes that we witnessed in Duekue in particular recently, a number of rape cases have come to our attention," Munzu said.

In the almost two months since the presidential election, incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo has refused to cede power even though the international community says his rival Alassane Ouattara won the vote.

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