ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) With possessions balanced on their heads, about 1,000 people frantically crowded around buses rented by Mali to evacuate its citizens Friday from Ivory Coast, as the U.N. said up to 1 million have fled their homes amid fears of civil war.
More than 2 million Malians live in neighboring Ivory Coast, and human rights groups say the foreigners are facing growing threats of violence as the Ivorian political crisis intensifies. Evacuation efforts have been hampered by a lack of buses so far. ...
The United Nations said Friday that up to 1 million people have fled their homes to safer areas.
"The massive displacement in Abidjan and elsewhere is being fueled by fears of all-out war," Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters in Geneva.
Among those who have fled the fighting are at least 500,000 children, said aid group Save The Children in a statement released Friday.
"We spoke to one boy who had to travel through the forest in Abidjan to get to safety, because there was too much fighting in his old neighborhood," said Giuliano Vascotto, the organization's director of operations in Ivory Coast.
"A seven-year-old girl we spoke to walked with her family through the bush to get to safety, carrying her belongings in a bag and her little brother on her back," he said.
Reports of sexual violence and atrocities are also ramping up.