Fighting forces 1 million to flee city

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The Independent Online

Up to one million Ivory Coast citizens have fled fighting in the main city of Abidjan with others uprooted across the country, the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR said.

"The massive displacement in Abidjan and elsewhere is being fuelled by fears of all-out war," said Melissa Fleming, a UNHCR spokeswoman . "Available estimates are that between 700,000 and one million people could now be displaced."

Ivory Coast has descended to the verge of civil war following a disputed election in November last year, with Alassane Ouattara internationally recognised as the winner. Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent, has refused to cede power. The stand-off has left more than 460 people dead. The UN agency said those leaving were mainly residents from the districts of some of the most populated areas of Abidjan, a city of four million.