UN chief warns of ‘real risk’ of Ivory Coast civil war

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned of a “real risk” of a return to civil war in Ivory Coast after the disputed presidential election.

He said incumbent Laurent Gbagbo was trying to expel UN peacekeepers.

The force, along with most of the international community, has recognised his rival Alassane Ouattara as victor.

Mr Gbagbo says the poll, meant to unify the country split by the 2002 war, was rigged in rebel areas. The Constitutional Council said he had won.

Mr Gbagbo’s power base is in the south, while Mr Ouattara draws most of his support from the former rebels in the north.

In his first TV address since the poll Mr Gbagbo stressed his legitimacy.

He also offered to let a panel representing international powers examine the results of the election.

Mr Gbagbo said Mr Ouattara could leave the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, where he has set up his headquarters protected by the UN, but the BBC’s John James in Abidjan says the blockade around the hotel remains in place.

The army meanwhile announced the lifting of a nightly curfew, so families could “enjoy the end of year holidays and the New Year” – BBC news