Weary and frightened villagers straggling from the bush in western Ivory Coast tell of dozens of killings and wanton abuses after a surge of fighting that has soured hopes of peace. The involvement of warring Liberian tribes, inured to atrocities by years of bloodshed, has made the rebel conflict in this corner of the West African country even more savage and tangled than elsewhere. It is hard to get a precise toll for recent deaths from the accounts of those limping into the French-protected town of Duekoue — two women shot by the road here, five people killed there, another nine at a cocoa farmer’s camp in the bush. “They killed 20 people last Wednesday. They just came and killed them. Women, old people, they killed them,” said planter Cesar Zrho from a village north of Duekoue on Sunday. Like many of the latest wave of refugees, he fled from rebels and their Liberian allies during fighting that erupted in the west of the world’s top cocoa grower late last year. He hoped he would be safe in the bush. Full Story
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