International

Is Ivory Coast Now In Civil War?

Residents walk past a burnt-out security forces vehicle in Anyama, north of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. i i

Residents walk past a burnt-out security forces vehicle in Anyama, north of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Rebecca Blackwell/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Residents walk past a burnt-out security forces vehicle in Anyama, north of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Residents walk past a burnt-out security forces vehicle in Anyama, north of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Rebecca Blackwell/AP

The AP says the UN is reporting more than 200,000 people have fled Ivory Coast's main city, Abidjan, to escape fighting. That's like everybody deciding to get out of Des Moines, Iowa as fast as they can. You'd notice.

But no one is willing yet to call this 'civil war'. Two rivals claim to be president; UN peacekeepers protect the acknowledged winner, Alassane Ouattara, while fighters loyal to the man who won't quit the presidency, Laurent Gbagbo, continue to menace the populace. The BBC says when a group of women marched in Abidjan to support Ouattara, gunmen opened fire and killed several women.

Muslim women pray as they face off soldiers in an unauthorized protest in Abidjan, calling for President Laurent Gbagbo to step down. Within minutes of the end of prayers, soldiers began firing to disperse the protesters. i i

Muslim women pray as they face off soldiers in an unauthorized protest in Abidjan, calling for President Laurent Gbagbo to step down. Within minutes of the end of prayers, soldiers began firing to disperse the protesters. Rebecca Blackwell/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Muslim women pray as they face off soldiers in an unauthorized protest in Abidjan, calling for President Laurent Gbagbo to step down. Within minutes of the end of prayers, soldiers began firing to disperse the protesters.

Muslim women pray as they face off soldiers in an unauthorized protest in Abidjan, calling for President Laurent Gbagbo to step down. Within minutes of the end of prayers, soldiers began firing to disperse the protesters.

Rebecca Blackwell/AP

If he can't get his way, the BBC reports Gbagbo has cut off water and electricity to millions of people in northern Ivory Coast, using gunmen to menace the population.

Many residents won't hear this news because Reuters says radio stations are off the air and newspapers are closing under threat. The New York Times says Abidjan is "collapsing" under Gbagbo's armed fight to keep power. People are going hungry, there are no jobs and still Gbagbo won't yield.

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