France urged its citizens to leave Ivory Coast on Wednesday after the U.N. chief warned the former French colony in West Africa faces "a real risk" of return to civil war following the disputed presidential election.
The United Nations and other world leaders recognize Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the Nov. 28 runoff vote. Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent who refuses to concede defeat and leave the presidency, said late Tuesday that "the international community has declared war on Ivory Coast," according to The Associated Press.
The U.S. State Department has already ordered most of its personnel to leave because a deteriorating security situation, and Nigeria has recalled its citizens.
The country's deadly political stand-off escalated Wednesday after a defiant Laurent Gbagbo insisted he is the one true president and his rivals refused to talk with him.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon meantime expressed concern for the fate of the peacekeepers protecting Gbagbo's opponent Alassane Ouattara, who is barricaded in a golf resort hotel on the outskirts of the capital Abidjan, GlobalPost reports.