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On air at 1700/1800GMT: Violence in Ivory Coast

Ben James Ben James | 16:00 UK time, Friday, 8 April 2011


Damaged houses in Duékoué on March 29th, 2011 - ZOOM DOSSO/AFP/Getty Images


It was grim listening on WHYS at 1100GMT as Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, detailed the latest discoveries of bodies in Ivory Coast. (You can listen to the early edition here.)

He told us many hundreds have now died; in one town, Blolequin

"... the human rights investigation team went in by helicopter yesterday and they found the town totally deserted. They described it as a dead town and there were around 40 bodies just lying in the streets."

He also told us "there's definitely an ethnic undertone" to the violence.

The towns in question are in the west of the country, close to the borders with Liberia and Guinea and one of them, Duékoué, was the place where the Red Cross last week reported at least 800 bodies.

The latest victims appear to have been civilians and seemed to have been running away when they were shot.

The Gbagbo and Outtara camps are each blaming the other for the killings.

There is also talk of a growing humanitarian crisis in the region, with supplies of food running low, as a consequence of the poor security situation.

There's much discussion about the establishment of humanitarian corridors to allow aid agencies to safely get food to those who have fled the fighting.

We're going to try to speak to people in the area, as well as representatives of the aid agencies, on our programmes at 1700 & 1800 GMT to attempt to find out more about what is happening and understand why it's happening.

Can anything be done to stop the killings? Should the international community change its stance on Ivory Coast and in order to protect people? What should the rival politicians do now?

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