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Jackson causing chaos in Africa

Pop star Michael Jackson canceled engagements and rehashed plans to tour the West African state of Ivory Coast after being alarmed by security problems in dealing with elated Ivorian fans.

Jackson's arrival from Gabon on Thursday caused chaotic scenes in the Ivorian capital Abidjan as tens of thousands of people struggled for a glimpse of their idol, tour organizers said Friday.

Police used batons and whips to force back the crowd, and even resorted to tear gas, but Jackson aides said the 33-year-old star was frightened by apparent gaps in security.

Jackson is on a non-singing five-nation tour to shoot scenes for his new Return to Africa video. He scrapped plans Friday to visit an orphanage and fly to the inland diplomatic capital Yamoussoukro.

Some Ivorian journalists commented sharply on Jackson's arrival, when he rushed from his private plane to the waiting air-conditioned limousine clutching his nose.

The evening daily Ivoir'Soir said Jackson's aides insisted the soft top of the car be closed, disappointing fans who hoped he would ride into town standing up to give them a better view.

"The American sacred beast took it upon himself to remind us: we are underdeveloped, impure. Our air is polluted, infested with germs," wrote Ivoir'Soir's R. Diodan.

"And it's not this mutant genius, this voluntary mutant, this recreated being, bleached, neither white nor black, neither man nor woman, so delicate, so frail, who will inhale it."