World Bulletin/News Desk
At least seven people were killed and dozens injured on Friday when angry mobs set fire to a U.N.-protected camp for civilians forced from their homes in western Ivory Coast, underscoring tensions in the zone.
The United Nations said the attack on Nahibly camp - an apparent revenge attack for an overnight robbery in the nearby town of Duekoue that killed five - forced 5,000 people to flee.
Those in the camp were Ivorians who fled their homes during last year's civil war. While much of the country is rebounding from the conflict, Friday's attack is the latest in a string of incidents highlighting tensions linked to land and ethnicity in the west, near the border with Liberia.
"The (U.N.'s) representative would like to underscore, once more, the seriousness of the situation in the west of Ivory Coast," the world body said in a statement on Friday evening.
The U.N. said seven people had been killed and 13 injured.
"(They) arrived this morning and started to chase us from the camp and set it on fire. They killed three people in front of my eyes, and so I fled with my son," camp resident Murielle Kapes told Reuters by telephone.
Another witness who entered the camp in the late afternoon counted eight bodies, some of them burned beyond recognition.
A source at the main hospital in Duekoue said more than 40 people had arrived from the camp with injuries mainly caused by machetes and wooden clubs. Five had been shot.
The camp, the country's only remaining facility for those displaced by last year's war, is managed by the United Nations and partner agencies. A detachment of armed peacekeepers from Ivory Coast's U.N. peacekeeping mission, UNOCI, was deployed outside Nahibly to protect the camp's residents.
The U.N. did not comment on how the attack took place despite the presence of the peacekeepers and the United States called for an immediate enquiry into the events.
"The United States urgently asks that the Ivorian government and UNOCI take immediate measures in order to assure the protection of civilians in the region," the U.S. Embassy said.
Residents of the town told Reuters the attack on the camp was a response to an attack during the night by gunmen on a neighbourhood not far from the camp.
"Everything is on fire. ... It's horrible. I don't have words," another witness said, asking not to be named.
Many of the camp's residents fled into Duekoue to seek shelter at the Catholic mission there, which a local priest said had also been threatened by crowds of angry youths.
Duekoue, at the heart of some the country's richest cocoa farmland, has long been a flashpoint for ethnic violence aggravated by disputes over land ownership. Human rights investigators say around 800 people were massacred there during last year's conflict.
The border zone has remained the most sensitive part of the country since post-election clashes ended in April of last year.
Many fighters loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to cede power despite losing a 2010 election sparked the conflict, crossed into Liberia. Rights groups accuse them of having since launched a series of cross-border raids.
The U.N. estimates there are some 86,000 still displaced in Ivory Coast, mostly living with host families.
Deal now has 34 backers in the Senate, the number needed to uphold Obama's veto
Rome is ready to 'reactivate' controls as 'a temporary measure to allow Bavaria to reorganise and face the emergency'
EU is set to maintain until March 15 sanctions targeted against almost 200 Russian firms & individuals, as well as Ukrainian separatists
During 4-day visit, rights chief is expected to address allegations of rights violations, sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers
Two government-chartered ships carrying some 4,300 people, most of them refugees from war-torn Syria, docked at Athens' Piraeus port
Army claims to have retaken strategic town on Cameroonian border from notorious militant group
The Israeli minister for Culture Miri Regev has said that the Palestinian women who saved a 12 year old boy from an attack by an Israeli soldier should have been shot.
Reports are emerging of Czech police forcibly removing Syrian refugees from trains to Germany and numbering the refugees on their forearms
Hundreds of refugees have protested outside the main railway station having being left stranded outside Budapest railway station with police blocking entry
If UK government separated issues of immigration and asylum, Labour leader candidate says Britons would respond to humanitarian crisis
Demonstrators rallied in Vienna against ill-treatment of refugees after 71 people were found dead in an abandoned truck last week
The Independent newspaper has revealed that Ultra Orthodox children in kindergarten, with some younger than age 3 are being taught to hate anyone who is not Jewish
The far right party has left the coalition with the party leader Oleg Lyashko criticizing the Ukrainian leadership saying that granting regional powers was a conspiracy.
Media reports say earlier self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics were preparing a referendum on accession to Russia
Nuclear power increase may help RSA solve its problem of electricity shortage, regular power cuts
Herds of cattle and their owners are are now another target in the sectarian violence of the Central African Republic