UN troops 'shot' Gbagbo supporters

UN denies claims by two hospital patients that peacekeepers opened fire on them during post-election violence.

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    Supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, Cote d'Ivoire's incumbent president, have claimed that United Nations peacekeepers shot at them during the violence that followed the disputed president run-off election - an allegation that the UN disputes.

    Al Jazeera interviewed the two men at a military hospital controlled by Gbagbo, where they seem to support a claim made by Gbagbo's camp - that UN peacekeeping troops opened fire on protesters during the clashes that followed the November 28 polls.

    "The UN just shot randomly at us," one of the men told Al Jazeera.

    "The first two vehicles just opened fire ... but the third vehicle shot directly at us ... I saw it with my own eyes."

    Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Abidjan, said that the alleged shootings took place on or around December 16 near a hotel where Alassane Outtara, who has been recognised as the winner of the election by the UN and African Union, is staying under UN protection.

    The spokesperson for the UN mission Cote d'Ivoire told Ndege that the world body "vehemently" denied the claim, calling it "propaganda put out by Laurent Gbagbo".

    Gbagbo has defied calls by both Outtara and the international community to step down, and has alleged that the presence of UN troops has only served to heighten tensions there, calling on them to leave.

    Dozens have died in a series of violent clashes between supporters of both candidates and security forces.

    Outtara blames Gbagbo and his supporters for the violence, and said he welcomes an investigation by the international criminal court into post-election violence in Cote d'Ivoire.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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