31 Dec 2010

UN concerned at further unrest in Ivory Coast

2:24 pm on 31 December 2010

The United Nations Secretary-General has warned supporters of Ivory Coast's incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo against attacking the headquarters of his rival.

Alassane Ouattara has been internationally recognised as the winner of the presidential election and is being protected by UN peacekeepers at a hotel in Abidjan.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the UN will use all necessary means to protect him and warns that an attack could re-ignite civil war in the West African nation, the BBC reports.

Mr Gbagbo says Mr Ouattara's victory is illegitimate. Both men have been sworn in as president.

The UN has some 9,500 peacekeepers in the country. Mr Gbagbo has told them to leave, accusing them of interfering in Ivorian affairs. But the UN has refused to do so.

Almost 20,000 people - mostly women and children - have fled Ivory Coast for neighbouring Liberia, fearing further unrest.