U.N. To Deploy 2,000 More Troops To Ivory Coast

The United Nations plans to add 2,000 more soldiers to its peacekeeping mission in the Ivory Coast amid escalating violence between supporters of rival politicians.

Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent leader, is defying calls to step down after an electoral commission declared he lost the election in November.

The international community -- including the United Nations -- considers challenger Alassane Ouattara the winner of the presidential vote. Ouattara is holed up in a hotel in the main city of Abidjan under the protection of U.N. peacekeepers

Reinforcements will also include three more armed helicopters to help protect civilians, according to a spokesman.

"These helicopters will be used to promote peace and provide protection," said Hamadoun Toure, a spokesman for the U.N. mission in the country.

The 9,000-strong mission has been in the country for seven years, according to the United Nations.

World leaders are concerned that violence from the standoff will cause another civil war, which split the country into a rebel-held north and a government-controlled south in 2002.