A CHILDREN’S charity has said many of those fleeing the violence in Libya were children.
The calls came as foreign Secretary William Hague called for restraint in crisis-hit Ivory Coast.
Fighters loyal to internationally-recognised president Alassane Ouattara have been battling for control of the presidential palace in the capital Abidjan, with forces still loyal to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo. Charity Save the Children, which is running refugee camps in neighbouring Liberia, said the majority of those fleeing were children.
The United Nations estimates more than 430 people have been killed in the clashes so far, but aid agencies say the true figure could be higher than 1,000.
Mr Hague said last night: “I am gravely concerned by the violence in Cote d’Ivoire and deplore reports of loss of life.
“I call on all sides to exercise restraint. I am determined all alleged human rights abuses in the city and elsewhere in Cote d’Ivoire must be investigated and those responsible held to account.
“Laurent Gbagbo must heed the calls from the international community and step down at once to prevent further bloodshed.”
Mike Sunderland, a spokesman for the charity at the camp, said: “I spoke to two sisters aged eight and 10 who were walking to Liberia with their mother when gunfire sent everyone scattering. The girls got separated from their mother and lost in the crowds.
“With no-one to guide them, having lost the one person they needed most, they continued their journey on foot for two days.”