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While uprisings continue in the Middle East against dictator governments there is another form of civil violence taking place in the African nation of the Ivory Coast.
The current president Laurent Gbagbo is widely reported by international agencies including the UN as having lost the most recent election campaign to opposition leader Alassane Ouattara. Despite this Gbagbo declared himself the winner of the last election and since then the Ivory Coast has been rocked by civil violence and unrest as pro-Gbagbo military and pro-Ouattara rebel forces battle each other across the nation.
The UN and French military forces have become increasingly involved in the campaign, firing missiles on Gbabo’s presidential palace and a nearby military camp. The UN claims the attack came as a result of the military using heavy weaponry against civilians.
The country’s state television station in Abidjan has been the site of conquests and losses for both sides, but appears to now be in the hands of Gbagbo supporters as it is now releasing stories condemning the UN and the French and calling on supporters to continue their loyal fight.
The city of Abidjan is in almost total lock-down with residents hiding in their houses to escape the increasing violence.
Australia’s Save the Children Foundation has said it fears that up to 500,000 children have been forced to flee heavy fighting across the Ivory Coast.
Save the Children’s Director of Emergencies, Mike Penrose said, “Children are being exposed to violence – they have been hearing gunshots for days, explosions as well. It’s an extremely stressful and frightening situation for them.
There isn’t enough food, there isn’t any water. Families have been extremely weakened for lack of food to eat. People cannot wash themselves.”