25 Dec 2010

West African summit tells Gbagbo to go - or else

10:52 am on 25 December 2010

An emergency summit of West African nations in Nigeria has told Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo to jump before he's pushed out of office.

Mr Gbagbo has been refusing to step down in favour of the man widely accepted to have won the recent presidential election, Alassane Ouattara.

The regional bloc ECOWAS says that if he doesn't go voluntarily he can expect to face "legitimate force", the BBC reports.

The Nigerian foreign minister, Odein Ajumogobia, says there will be no compromise on the demand that Mr Gbagbo step down.

On Thursday, Ivory Coast state television - one of the key elements keeping Mr Gbagbo in power - was taken off the air in areas outside the capital, Abidjan.

But amid the mounting international pressure, the incumbent president remained defiant, declaring illegal a decision by the West African central bank to give control of his country's account to Mr Ouattara.

Mr Ouattara has accused Mr Gbagbo of opening a new chapter of violence, according to an AFP report quoted by the BBC.

"Violence is returning to our towns and our city neighbourhoods," he says. "Serious human rights violations are reported from all corners."