Deaths following Ivory Coast election put at 200

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Nearly 200 people have been killed in Ivory Coast since last month's disputed election, according to the United States, as international pressure mounts for defiant leader Laurent Gbagbo to step down.

World powers and African states have thrown their support behind the rival presidential claimant, Alassane Ouattara, in a violent standoff since the 28 November 28 election that threatens to tip the country back into civil war.

The US Ambassador to the UN, Betty King, told the Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday: "We have credible reports that almost 200 people may have already been killed, with dozens more tortured or mistreated, and others may have been snatched from their homes in the middle of the night," The UN later said it had substantiated allegations that at least 173 people were killed between 16 an 21 December, along with 90 people tortured and hundreds detained.

The US, the UN, the European Union, the African Union and the West African bloc ECOWAS have all recognised provisional electoral commission results showing Mr Ouattara as the winner of the poll.