Ivorian leader Gbagbo cuts U.N. broadcasts

Feb. 10, 2011 at 1:13 PM
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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The official broadcast for the United Nations in the Ivory Coast was banned by incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, state television announced.

Gbagbo refuses to step down despite international recognition that former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara was the winner of a November election mean to unite a country divided by civil war.

Gbagbo at the onset of the political crisis said U.N. peacekeepers weren't welcome in the country and accused the peacekeepers of acting as rebel forces.

The official U.N. frequency in the Ivory Coast was jammed earlier this year but state television has reported that Gbagbo issued orders officially banning the broadcasts, the BBC reports.

Despite international support, Ouattara remains holed up on a luxury hotel in Abidjan. Most of the military remains loyal to Gbagbo, who maintains control over state television.

The U.N. Security Council approved a measure this year to add 2,000 peacekeepers to the U.N. mission in the Ivory Coast.

African leaders continue to try to reach a settlement to the Ivorian political crisis but suggested military force might be needed to convince Gbagbo to step down. With reports of civilian casualties and forced disappearances, African authorities said the crisis could escalate to civil war.

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