By Aislinn Laing
The Telegraph, December 29, 2010
"Supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, Ivory Coast's seemingly immovable president, have warned that immigrants from neighbouring countries could be attacked if West African troops are sent to remove him from power. The threats came in the form of reports on the state-owned broadcaster, which backs the southern incumbent over Alassane Ouattara, the internationally-recognised victor of last month's election. Ahouda Don Mello, Mr. Gbagbo's spokesman, has hinted that the several million foreigners living and working in Ivory Coast could become targets if regional body Ecowas carries out its threat of military intervention. 'All these countries have citizens in Ivory Coast and they know if they attack Ivory Coast from the exterior it would become an interior civil war,' he said. 'Is Burkina Faso ready to welcome three million Burkinabe migrants back in their country of origin?' ... Economic migrants to Ivory Coast, the world's chief cocoa producer, make up 20 per cent of its 21 million population, with those from Burkina Faso and Mali accounting for the largest, and poorest, proportion. At times of stress, they have historically become targets as those loyal to Mr. Gbagbo whip up nationalist sentiment among his supporters. [...]"