At least 296 people have been killed in Ivory Coast since a presidential stand-off escalated in mid-December, the United Nations mission in the crisis-hit west African nation said on Thursday.
At least 22 people have died in the past week, the spokesman for the UN Mission in Ivory Coast (UNOCI), Hamadoun Toure, told journalists.
The latest deaths mainly occurred in Abidjan, where supporters of Alassane Ouattara, internationally recognised as the winner of November 28 elections, clashed this week with police controlled by incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to step down.
Others died in ethnic clashes in the western town of Duekoue, around 500 kilometres (300 miles) west of the commercial capital Abidjan, where more than 38,000 people have been displaced.
Ouattara remains besieged in his camp’s temporary headquarters at a hotel resort in Abidjan despite intensive mediation efforts aimed at ending the deadly stand-off.
A team of experts from the African Union left Ivory Coast on Thursday after meeting both Ouattara and Gbagbo and their senior officials.
The experts will deliver a report on the visit to a panel of five African heads of state meeting on February 20 in Nouakchott prior to their own trip to Abidjan.
The panel is tasked with coming up with measures to resolve the impasse in Ivory Coast by the end of February.
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