U.N. peacekeepers in Ivory Coast fired warning shots into the air to disperse angry supporters of incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo on Monday, and police fired return shots skywards in an incident that left three wounded, witnesses said.

A Reuters reporter saw three civilians lightly injured by bullets before ambulances arrived to pick them up, but it was not clear whose firing had wounded them.

It was the latest sign of tensions between the United Nations mission and pro-Gbagbo crowds since a November 28 election which most of the world says his rival Alassane Ouattara won. Last week the U.N. mission said mobs attacked and burnt six of its vehicles.

The incident happened as scores of pro-Gbagbo youths surrounded a U.N. vehicle that had been heading towards a hotel in central Abidjan where Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga was expected to stop off on a mediation visit to tackle a standoff between Gbagbo and Ouattara.

U.N. staff have become increasingly victims of attack by pro-Gbagbo security forces and allied militias or mobs in the past few days, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said.

Odinga was due to meet Gbagbo and Ouattara on Monday. Previous efforts involving him and other African leaders trying to persuade Gbagbo to step down have failed.