Shooting at pro-Gbagbo Abidjan roadblock kills 4

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 21, 2011 10:56 AM

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Gunmen shot dead four people on Tuesday near a roadblock run by youth supporters of Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo in the Abidjan suburb of Deux Plateau, several witnesses said.

The world's leading cocoa-producing country has been in violent turmoil since a disputed election pitting incumbent leader Gbagbo against rival Alassane Ouattara. U.N.-certified results showed Ouattara won, but Gbagbo has refused to concede.

"I'm not sure what happened but we heard a burst of shooting near the youth roadblock just behind the supermarket," said Marco Abade, a resident of the leafy, middle class neighborhood.

"We heard screaming and there were four bodies of youths on the road," Abade added, saying he did not know if the dead were members of a pro-Gbagbo youth militia, who have set up roadblocks all over town.

Another witness said one of the dead was initially badly wounded and was rushed to a local clinic where he died.

Battles between gunmen backing Gbagbo and Ouattara have raged in the northern Abidjan Ouattara stronghold of Abobo for three weeks but shifted this week closer to the center of town.

Fighting has also spread to the west, across a north-south ceasefire line in place since the end of the 2002-3 war, increasing fears that an election that was meant to reunite the country will instead reignite the conflict.

(Reporting by Ange Aboa; Writing by Tim Cocks; editing by David Lewis and Mark Heinrich)