- NEW: Forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo retake control of the state-run TV network
- At least 800 people were killed Tuesday in the Ivory Coast, the Red Cross says
- A witness says, "If you're out on the streets, you're basically a target"
- Gbagbo has refused to cede power since a disputed November election
Fighting raged again in Abidjan, the nation's largest city and its commercial center, as a disturbing account illustrated the bloody nature of Ivory Coast's crisis.
The International Committee of the Red Cross reported the massacre of at least 800 people in the western town of Duekoue.
The agency's team arrived in Duekoue on Thursday, said spokesman Kelnor Panglungtshang in Abidjan.
"They saw the bodies on the streets," he told CNN. "There were so many."
"There is always a lot of resentment after something like this and it can explode," he said. "It's highly tense, obviously."
Ouattara's government as well as the Republican Forces that back him issued statements Saturday denying any involvement in the massacre or other human rights violations and called for an independent investigation.
Panglungtshang said they were victims of inter-communal violence that has been heightened by Ivory Coast's current political crisis.
Tensions were already high over land issues in the nation's western region, rich with cocoa plantations that attract migrants from other parts of Ivory Coast as well as foreign workers from regional countries like Burkina Faso and Mali.
Simmering problems exploded after the November elections that ended in controversy. Incumbent Ggabgo refused to cede power even though Ouattara was internationally recognized as the legitimate winner.
Gbagbo's whereabouts were unknown. He has not recently appeared in public and the French ambassador said his residence was empty.
Pro-Ouattara forces launched an offensive this week, taking control of key cocoa-producing towns and the capital, Yamoussoukro, before arriving in Abidjan Thursday. Ouattara's camp had predicted Gbagbo would fall within hours.
But Saturday, a quick victory for Ouattara was not so apparent.
An Abidjan resident, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said the state-run TV network, which had gone dark after pro-Ouattara forces took control of the building, began broadcasting again Saturday morning.
The network has been accused of inciting violence
Residents reported gunfire again Saturday and armed gangs roaming the streets. The day before, the fighting had escalated with artillery and mortar and French and United Nations troops have beefed up their presence on the streets to fill a security vacuum.
Gbagbo adviser Abdon Bayeto blamed the United Nations and global leaders including France and the United States for Ivory Coast's bloodshed by recognizing Ouattara as the legitimate president.
Ouattara knows he lost the election, Bayeto said, adding that Gbagbo is a true democrat.
"For 30 years there was no trouble in the country," he said. "We are going to be victorious."
The chances for that victory appeared slim Friday after pro-Ouattara forces launched a massive offensive in a final push to oust Gbagbo.
The African Union called again Friday for Gbagbo "to immediately hand over power."
"Gbagbo's days are numbered because he overstayed his welcome," Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga told CNN. Odinga has served as the African Union's main negotiator in Ivory Coast. "The will of the Ivorian people must finally prevail."
Events in Ivory Coast are sure to have critical implications for the immediate region and all of Africa.
The nation had been on the rebound from a 2002 civil war and the elections last year inspired expectations that the nation would embark on a new chapter that would take it closer to becoming a stable democracy.
But the post-election chaos does not bode well for other African nations struggling to become stronger democracies. And thousands of people have crossed into neighboring nations including Liberia, which is trying to hold onto its own fragile peace.
Abidjan residents told CNN that most of the city's 4 million residents were huddled inside their homes with little access to information.
"The situation on the streets has deteriorated to such an extent that it's just become too dangerous to go outside," said Henry Gray, a field coordinator with Medicins Sans Frontieres, a humanitarian medical group known in English as Doctors Without Borders.
"There's a lot of pillaging and looting going on, and if you're out on the streets, you're basically a target," Gray said. "It's weird, because Abidjan is actually a really nice city with well-maintained roads and nice bridges and big buildings." Continued