Laurent Gbagbo, president of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire (UPI Photo/Monika Graff) | License Photo
UNITED NATIONS, March 18 (UPI) -- The United Nations needs a "significant scale up" in the effort to cope with the violence in Ivory Coast, a U.N. humanitarian official said.
The U.N. peacekeeping operation in Ivory Coast expressed outrage after forces loyal to incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo killed more than 25 people when they shelled a market in Abidjan, the country's commercial capital.
Ndolamb Ngokwey, the U.N. deputy special envoy to Ivory Coast, said peacekeepers carried out patrols in response to the attack but more work was needed.
"What is very clear is that we need a significant scale-up in terms of effort and funding to be able to deal with the situation," he said in a statement.
Human Rights Watch said forces loyal to Gbagbo and the internationally recognized winner of the election, Alassane Ouattara, were used excessive force in the country. The watchdog group and the United Nations blame pro-Gbagbo forces for much of the violence, however.
"The authors of these abusive acts, which constitute flagrant violations of human rights, will not remain unpunished," the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast said.
The United Nations estimates that at least 400 people were killed since November elections that were meant to unite a country divided by civil war in 2002.