Ivory Coast's Gbagbo threatens international media

AP News
Posted: Mar 22, 2011 8:48 PM
Ivory Coast's Gbagbo threatens international media

The Ivorian leader refusing to cede power has warned international journalists that they would be considered accomplices to terrorists if they don't do a more balanced job of reporting the country's political crisis.

In a statement read on state television, Ahoua Don Mello, a spokesman for sitting president Laurent Gbagbo, accused journalists of fabricating last week's shelling of civilians in an Abidjan neighborhood. The United Nations said the attack could constitute a crime against humanity.

Gbagbo also accused the media of refusing to report atrocities committed by forces loyal to his opponent, Alassane Ouattara, in the country's West.

He warned the press that if they didn't do a better job of reporting, they would be dealt with like the U.N. peacekeepers, who have been repeatedly attacked by pro-Gbagbo mobs.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) _ Ivory Coast's internationally recognized president is calling for the United Nations to authorize the use of "legitimate force" to protect civilians after a mortar attack last week killed at least 25 people.

Alassane Ouattara on Monday accused the U.N. of being too passive in protecting civilians amid an increasingly violent political crisis. He called for a rapid intervention force, permanent checkpoints in strategic parts of the city and the destruction of the arsenal held by incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to cede power.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast numbers some 10,000 soldiers and says it carried out 841 ground and air patrols last week. 435 people have died since the crisis began and nearly 400,000 have fled the fighting.