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Radio station suspends normal programming for fear of attacks by Gbagbo's forces

(MFWA/IFEX) - Al-Bayane, an Islamic radio station based in Cocody, a suburb of Abidjan, has suspended its normal programming for fear of being attacked by forces supporting Laurent Gbagbo.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s correspondent reported that the station's action followed a visit to Al-Bayane by armed personnel of the pro-Gbagbo Defence and Security Forces (FDS) at 1:46 a.m. on 7 March 2011.

The correspondent said that had it not been for the timely intervention of the people in the community, the security personnel would have vandalised the station.

Al-Bayane is housed in a mosque complex close to the Gulf Hotel, the seat of Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised president of Cote d'Ivoire. On 25 February, two mosques in Gbagbo's stronghold in Youpougon, a neighbourhood of Abidjan, were burnt down allegedly by supporters of Gbagbo.

The radio station now airs only religious songs and Qu'ranic recitations.

Earlier on 1 March, a group of FDS personnel in six vehicles stormed the premises of "Le Patriot", but the newspaper's office was closed to protest what it described as "intimidation" and "harassment" of pro-Ouattara newspapers by pro-Gbagbo forces.

In another development, the house of Karidioula David, a photographer for "Le Quotidien", a pro-Gbagbo newspaper, was burnt down by unknown arsonists. No arrests have been made.

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