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Gbagbo backer: Ivorian story one sided

March 24, 2011 at 10:30 AM

YAMOUSSOUKRO, Ivory Coast, March 24 (UPI) -- International concerns about the security situation in Ivory Coast are biased toward Alassane Ouattara, his rival's youth minister complained.

The International Crisis Group in a letter to African leaders this week said the conflict in Ivory Coast could be considered civil war. U.N. officials said they worry that the conflict in Libya and uprisings in the Arab world puts Ivory Coast at the bottom of the priority list.

While some international rights groups blame forces loyal to incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo for much of the violence, others note fighters supporting Ouattara are to blame for the escalating conflict.

Charles Ble Goude, Gbagbo's youth minister, told the BBC the complaints raised in his country are one sided.

"Every day in the suburbs where Ouattara is supposedly popular, the supporters of Gbagbo are killed," he said. U.N. accounts of Ivorian violence are leaving that out, he added.

Ble Goude, under U.N. sanction for inciting violence, this week called on supporters to join the fight to "liberate" the country.

Gbagbo refuses to step down despite a U.N. Security Council resolution recognizing Ouattara as the president of Ivory Coast. The United Nations estimates more than 400 people have been killed since November elections, adding at least 90,000 people have fled the Ivorian crisis to neighboring Liberia.

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