Ivorians fleeing after threats of force

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast – The man who refuses to leave Ivory Coast’s presidency faced new threats to his grasp on power after regional leaders threatened to remove him by force if necessary.

Meanwhile, the U.N.’s refugee agency said Saturday that at least 14,000 Ivorians have fled, seeking safety in Liberia.

Diplomatic pressure and sanctions have left Laurent Gbagbo increasingly isolated, though he has been able to maintain his rule nearly a month after the disputed vote because of the loyalty of security forces and the military.

Late Friday, West Africa leaders from the 15-country Economic Community of West African States threatened to send military intervention into Ivory Coast if incumbent Gbagbo refuses to step down peacefully.

James Gbeho, president of ECOWAS, said the group of West African leaders was making an “ultimate gesture” to Gbagbo to urge him to make a peaceful exit.


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