Ivory Coast – Hundreds of people have been killed in Ivory Coast in the last week.

“We can hear shooting and see soldiers moving but there are also armed civilians running in the streets,” said Camara Arnold, a Cocody resident to Reuters.

The violence in the West African country erupted following the election events at the end of last year.

Laurent Gbagbo, who has been president for Ivory Coast since 2000, is refusing to leave office after the election, which UN-certified results showed that he lost to his rival Alassane Ouattara.

Ouattara was initially proclaimed the winner by Ivory Coast’s election commission, but the Constitutional Council said Mr Gbagbo had won.

Both men have been sworned in as presidents.

UN officials said that its headquarters in the region was fired on by Gbagbo’s forces last week Thursday, and that the UN peacekeeping mission had exchanged fire with the soldiers for about three hours.

Since then all 200 UN employees have been airlifted from the base including ‘essential employees’.

Other employees were evacuated several months ago.

But UN has still got about 12,000 peacekeepers in the country.

Their forces are trying to protect thousands of civilians sheltering in a church compound in the town of Duekoue, where hundreds of people were killed last week.