Artillery attacks escalate in Ivory Coast

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, April 9 (UPI) -- An increase in the use of heavy artillery by two factions was reported Saturday in Ivory Coast along with allegations of genocide, rights groups said.

The former French colony is rife with violence between supporters of President-elect Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to accept his defeat in November elections.


The Daily Telegraph reported French military helicopters fired missiles at Gbagbo's presidential compound Friday night in response to alleged mortar attacks on the French ambassador's residence by pro-Gbagbo forces.

Meanwhile, gruesome reports of massacres allegedly committed by both sides came to light elsewhere in the country from United Nations workers and the Human Rights Watch group.

HRW representative Matt Wells told The Guardian newspaper tribal and political violence had created staggering numbers of victims.

"In village after village, Ouattara's forces terrorized civilians perceived as supporting Gbagbo, killing hundreds and raping dozens more," he said.

Elsewhere, Gbagbo loyalists are suspected in the massacre of at least 300 people in the region around Duekoue, the BBC said.

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