UN: Fighting has displaced up to 1 million in Ivory Coast
Up to 1 million people have been displaced by heavy fighting in the Ivory Coast, the United Nations said Friday, dpa reported.
"The massive displacement in Abidjan and elsewhere is being fuelled by fears of an all out war," Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.
At least 462 civilians have lost their lives in Abidjan, the main city in the western African nation, since a crisis was prompted by President Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to leave power after November elections that the UN say his rival Alassane Ouattara won.
The UN's Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights said some 5,000 youths had responded to the call for civilians to join Gbagbo's forces.
UN offices in Ivory Coast, the world's largest cocoa producer, were also attacked by militants this week.
While Gbagbo's forces have largely been blamed for the majority of human rights abuses since the crisis began, UN officials indicated Ouattara's loyalists were also committing violations.