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Situation improving in Ivory Coast

Nov. 18, 2011 at 1:26 PM   |   Comments

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GENEVA, Switzerland, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Fewer than 3,000 refugees are left in a Catholic mission in western Ivory Coast that at one time housed 75,000 people, an international observer said.

Jumbe Omari Jumbe, a delegate with the International Organization for Migration, told U.N. officials in Geneva the post-election situation in Ivory Coast is showing signs of improvement.

During the height of the conflict that followed last year's presidential elections, around 75,000 people were sheltered in a Catholic mission in the west of the country. Only around 2,800 people remain there, however.

Ivory Coast was pushed to the brink of civil war following November 2010 presidential elections. Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down despite international recognition that Alassane Ouattara was the victor.

Jumbe said there were around 17,000 people still displaced inside the country. The problem, he said, was exacerbated by some armed militias and rival claims to territory.

Ivory Coast is gearing up for legislative elections next month. The November 2010 contest was meant to unite a country divided by civil war in 2003.

Ouattara has asked the International Criminal Court to probe the violence, though both sides are suspected of committing atrocities.

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