ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - Ivory Coast state television disappeared from the airwaves outside the nation's largest city late Thursday, a blow to the incumbent president's attempts to cling to power in the bloody aftermath of an election that most of the world says he lost.
Also Thursday, the U.N. General Assembly recognized challenger Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the election.
The 192-nation world body adopted a resolution by consensus accepting the credentials of Ouattara's choice for ambassador to the United Nations, veteran diplomat Youssouf Bamba.
In doing so, the assembly rescinded the credentials of Ivory Coast's U.N. Ambassador Ilahiri Djedje, a supporter of incumbent Laurent Gbagbo.
Meanwhile, the United Nations said at least 173 people had died in violence over the Nov. 28 runoff vote, and that government forces were blocking access to a possible mass grave. The U.N. deputy human rights commissioner in Geneva, Switzerland, Kyung-wha Kang, detailed hundreds of arrests and detentions, and dozens of cases of torture and mistreatment.
The state television channel controlled by Gbagbo continued to air in Abidjan, but only black and white snow appeared in at least six other cities around the West African nation just minutes before Ivorians sat down to their nightly newscast, residents said.
It was not clear how the signal was cut. Advisers to Ouattara refused to comment. But the event falls in line with a series of strategies Ouattara has been employing to try to break Gbagbo's stranglehold on the news.
A week ago, Ouattara's supporters unsuccessfully tried to seize control of the channel. Ouattara has been broadcasting a private radio station that intersperses rally songs with news broadcasts.
The United Nations, United States, France, and others have said Ouattara won the runoff vote, but Gbagbo has refused to step down. State TV ran continuous footage of Gbagbo taking the oath of office in the days after he declared victory without mentioning that his claim was heavily contested.
Also on Thursday, the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling for an end to the violence, which has raised fears of a return to civil war. Kyung-wha told diplomats that there may be more fatalities than the ones she was able to document.