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Bloody Fighting Erupts In Ivory Coast

Supporters of Alassane Ouattara burn tires in Abidjan. Residents in at least one Abidjan neighborhood that supported Ouattara reported heavy weapons fire. ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images

Supporters of Alassane Ouattara burn tires in Abidjan. Residents in at least one Abidjan neighborhood that supported Ouattara reported heavy weapons fire.

ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images

Simmering violence is spreading in western Ivory Coast, says Reuters. NPR's Ofeibea Quist Arcton says fighters loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo were caught up in fighting with supporters of Alassane Ouattara, who's been recognized internationally as the winner of last year's presidential election.

The New York Times reports Gbagbo's troops attacked a neighborhood in the Abidjan that supported Ouattara - but this time the fighters brought rocket launchers and tanks to attack civilians cowering inside their homes. There's fear the Ivorian civil war has returned.

Bloomberg News says Ouattara loyalists retaliated, while separately, an African Union backed group of mediators tried again and failed to persuade Gbagbo to leave peacefully. The only surprise appears to be that Gbagbo even received the delegation, which included the presidents of Chad, Mauritania and South Africa.

Ivory Coast is the biggest producer of cocoa in the world. Ouattara banned his country's cocoa exports in January as tension rose and Bloomberg says cocoa prices are at their highest levels in 32 years.

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