International

Pressure, And Deaths, Continue To Grow In Ivory Coast

Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, and left, and challenger Alassane Ouattara. i

Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, left, and challenger Alassane Ouattara. Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images
Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, and left, and challenger Alassane Ouattara.

Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, left, and challenger Alassane Ouattara.

Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images

As the U.N. reports at least 173 people have been killed in post-election violence in Ivory Coast, there's word from the Associated Press that state-controlled television is off the air across most of the country.

That news comes as "pressure is building to get President Laurent Gbagbo to accept defeat in last month's presidential election," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports from Dakar.

Ofeibea tells the NPR Newscast that:

"The Obama administration is in talks with Ivory Coast’s neighbors, the former colonial power France and others. The camp backing Alassane Ouattara, the candidate the U.N. certified the winner of the presidential election, has called for international troops to push Gbagbo from power. U.S. deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs, William Fitzgerald, suggests such talk is premature."

She adds that leaders of several West African nations are to hold an "emergency Ivory Coast summit" tomorrow.

As Ofeibea also reports:

"Gbagbo accuses the camp of his presidential challenger, Ouattara, of fanning the flames of violence. The U.N. has accused the Gbagbo camp of using mercenaries from neighbouring Liberia — and perhaps Angola — to shore up his beleaguered regime. U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon says Gbagbo’s forces are trying to blockade U.N. peacekeepers protecting Ouattara, the presidential candidate recognised by African and world leaders, including President Obama."

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