According to the Red Cross official Dorothea Krimitsas, some 800 people have been killed in the Ivory Coast key city of Duekoue by supporters of Laurent Gbagbo. Meanwhile, in the capitol of Abidjan, Gbagbo′s presidential palace was surrounded by opposition forces.. Gbagbo lost his reelection bid last November to the internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara, but has refused to give up power. Appeals to the United Nations and the African Union leader Jean Ping and French president Nicolas Sarkozy are getting little attention to the once wealthy country, famous as a prime source of cocoa from the port city of San Pedro, the essential ingredient for making chocolate.

Ivory Coast map

In Abidjan, opposition forces seized the national television station and other government facilities. Since the November elections, violence has led to some 492 deaths, but many more are feared as mass graves have been discovered in at least three other cities. Over 100,000 refugees have poured into neighboring countries to escape the bloodshed.

This latest massacre at Duekoue is even more shocking as the city is the base for a detachment of U.N. Peacekeepers. The International Red Cross, along with other aid groups from the U.N. Number some 10,000, but only a few hundred U.N. peacekeepers are present for protection. Democratically elected Alassane Ouattara has called for international intervention to restore order to the once prosperous West African nation.

Red Cross official Dorathea Krimitsas said that some 800 people have been killed in the Ivory Coast key city of Duekoue. While most blame forces loyal to defeated president Laurent Gbagbo, some say neighboring Liberian mercenaries were responsible as tens of thousands of refugees seek to flee the violence in Ivory Coast. Forces supported duly elected and internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara surrounded the presidential palace in the capitol of Abidjan ans seized the national television station. Appeals for help to the United Nations and the United States have been made by African Union leader Jean Ping to French president Nicolas Sarkozy. The Ivory Coast, also known as Cote d′Ivoire, was once a wealthy country as it is a key source for cocoa from the port city of San Pedro to the world′s chocolate lovers.

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