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Ivory Coast: Anti-Gbagbo protesters killed in Abidjan

Ivory Coast: Anti-Gbagbo protesters killed in Abidjan

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Four people have been shot dead in Ivory Coast's main city, Abidjan, after a march to protest about the killing of seven female demonstrators last week.

Journalists have seen the bodies of three men and a woman in clinic.

The shooting has been blamed on rogue army officers supporting disputed President Laurent Gbagbo.

He refuses to cede power although his rival Alassane Ouattara is internationally recognised as the winner of last year's poll.

News of the latest trouble came as the US said Mr Gbagbo's order for the government to take control of all cocoa purchases and exports "amounts to theft".

"It is another desperate act in his campaign to cling to power," US state department spokesman PJ Crowley told journalists.

Ivory Coast is the world's biggest cocoa producer - the cocoa sector accounts for 40% of global supplies and is currently dominated by multinational companies.

Last month, Mr Ouattara called for a temporary ban on exports to try to force Mr Gbagbo from power.

The UN-backed electoral commission says Mr Ouattara won presidential elections in November, but the Constitutional Council overruled it, citing rigging in the north.

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