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Subject: French, Ivory Coast Forces Battle
Seeker    11/6/2004 3:40:39 PM French, Ivory Coast Forces Battle 27 minutes ago World - AP Africa By PARFAIT KOUASSI, Associated Press Writer ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - French troops clashed with soldiers and angry mobs Saturday after Ivory Coast warplanes killed eight French peacekeepers and an American civilian in an airstrike — mayhem that threatened to draw foreign troops deeper into the West African nation's escalating civil war. AP Photo Reuters Slideshow: Ivory Coast Unrest After France retaliated for the airstrike, thousands of pro-government youths, some armed with machetes, axes or chunks of wood, took to the streets of the country's commercial capital, Abidjan. Crowds went door to door looking for French citizens and set fire to a French school, sending a pall of smoke over the city. "Everybody get your Frenchman!" young men in the mob shouted to each others. The U.N. Security Council called an emergency session Saturday, with U.S. and French diplomats preparing a sharp warning to Ivory Coast's government. France quickly sent three Mirage fighter jets to West Africa and ordered more troops to Ivory Coast in response to the violence. Hard-liners in Ivory Coast's military broke a more than year-old cease-fire, launching surprise airstrikes Thursday against rebel positions and vowing to retake the northern part of the country in rebel hands since the civil war began in 2002. Government officials said Saturday's airstrike that hit a French peacekeeper position was an accident — but the violence highlighted the nationalist fervor in the pro-government south. Many in the south resent the French troops, suspecting them of siding with rebels, even though the peacekeepers have protected government troops in the past. France has about 4,000 troops in Ivory Coast, and a separate U.N. peacekeeping force numbers around 6,000. Saturday's violence began when government warplanes struck French positions at Brobo, near the northern rebel-held town of Bouake, in the afternoon, U.N. military spokesman Philippe Moreux said. Eight French soldiers were killed and 23 others wounded, said Defense Ministry spokesman Jean-Francois Bureau in Paris. An American citizen was also killed in the raid, the French presidency said, without providing details. U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Ergibe Boyd in Abidjan said they've been told of the death by the French but haven't confirmed it. She said the American was likely a missionary, since there is no U.S. military or diplomatic presence in the area. In response, French infantry destroyed two Ivory Coast Sukhoi fighter jets on the ground at an airport in the capital, Yamoussoukro, 75 miles to the south, French military spokesman Col. Henry Aussavy said. "Our forces responded in a situation of legitimate defense," Bureau, the spokesman, said. "Now the priority is the immediate end of combat." France sent three Mirage fighter jets, due to arrive in nearby Gabon. and French President Jacques Chirac said he ordered the deployment of two more military companies to Ivory Coast. Foreign Minister Michel Barnier demanded Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo act, saying Gbagbo must "clearly assume his responsibilities and the role that is his to return the country to calm — especially in Abidjan." At the U.N. Security Council, the United States, which currently holds the council presidency, and France were drafting a presidential statement warning Ivory Coast's government to stop attacks immediately or face "serious consequences," council diplomats said. In the violence in Abidjan, loyalist mobs tried to overrun a French military base near the airport. French troops fired in the air and lobbed tear gas at the crowd. "French go home!" loyalist mobs screamed as they marched through the city. Mobs went house to house, seeking out French civilians, French military spokesman Henry Aussavy said. At least three French families had called French authorities to say loyalist militias had stormed their homes, a Western diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity. There was no immediate word on any civilian casualties. At the same time, Ivory Coast soldiers tried to destroy French aircraft at the airport itself, sparking clashes with French forces, a French spokesman, Jacques Combarieu, said. Combarieu said a French soldier was lightly injured and an airplane was lightly damaged before the fighting ended. A senior member of Ivory Coast's government — Sebastien Dano Djeje, Cabinet member for National Reconciliation — said the bombing of the French position in the north "was a mistake. We didn't aim to hit them." But then he questioned whether the government air force was really behind the strike. "But what proves it was Ivorian planes? We have to do an investigation," he told The Associated
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Seeker    RE:French, Ivory Coast Forces Battle    11/6/2004 3:57:10 PM
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Occident    RE:French, Ivory Coast Forces Battle    11/6/2004 5:10:15 PM
French infantry destroyed 2 Ivory Coast Sukhoi fighter jets and 5 MI-24.
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Shirrush    RE:French, Ivory Coast Forces Battle    11/6/2004 5:35:15 PM
Does the Ivorian airforce have ANY aircraft left? When, and from whom, did they get the Su-25's and the Mi-35's? Did they use merc pilots? If so, of which nationality?
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JWilly    RE:French, Ivory Coast Forces Battle    11/7/2004 2:20:32 AM
This report (, apparently mostly based on AFP info, says that the destruction was the 2 Sukhois, 1 Mi8, 2 Mi24s and 2 other choppers, and that this was "just about all" of the Ivorian AF. No info anywhere that I've found on who--Ivorians or mercs--was doing the Ivorian AF flying.
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sentinel28a    RE:French, Ivory Coast Forces Battle    11/7/2004 2:44:07 AM
Doesn't the Ivory Coast have Alpha Jets? More than likely, the pilots were Ukrainians...most air mercs in Africa using Russian equipment are.
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Yimmy    RE:French, Ivory Coast Forces Battle    11/7/2004 8:38:20 AM
What is the point in having two jet strike aircraft? I mean really... Surely any sane man would rather have say 12 turbo-prop aircraft of some sort than two expensive jets...
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Shirrush    RE:French, Ivory Coast Forces Battle    11/7/2004 4:25:17 PM
Well, yes, theoretically a pair of jet attack fighters is not a really efficient force multiplier however kickass these planes may be, and these "Frogfeet" are pretty much it when it comes to the shock-and-awe part. It just could be that a not-upgraded Su-25 would cost less and be easier to purchase on a "no-questions-asked" basis than the state-of-the-art turboprop attack aircraft such as the Super-Tucano, or the Pucara. This is precisely why I'm asking who made this sale to the Gbagbo government.
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french stratege    RE:French, Ivory Coast Forces Battle    11/7/2004 4:44:15 PM
I think that a SU25 with a larger payload, faster speed, less vulnerability to manpad missiles, is pretty more efficient than a Tucano.And probably available at a low cost.
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Seeker    Violence escalates!    11/7/2004 4:45:32 PM
Ivory Coast has accused French troops of killing unarmed civilians to avenge the death of nine French peacekeepers. Parliament speaker Mamadou Coulibaly said the French had killed 30 people and wounded more than 100 in the main cities of Abidjan and Yamassoukro. The French have denied this - saying they fired warning shots on protesters near Abidjan airport and a French base. French citizens were attacked after French forces destroyed five Ivorian government aircraft. The main thing is to call everybody to calm down so... no aggressive action is taken against the Ivorian nationals and the foreigners UN condemns attacks France had responded to an earlier Ivorian air attack on the rebel town of Bouake that left nine French peacekeepers dead - a government breach of a ceasefire signed in July 2003. The first French troop reinforcements have arrived at Abidjan airport. Paris has said it is sending more troops and aircraft to the region to stop the escalating violence. It has 4,000 troops in the country, part of a 10,000-strong UN force mandated to enforce a peace deal between rebels in the north and President Gbagbo's government in the south. The UN Security Council moved swiftly to back the French action, and called on all sides to stop the fighting. Looting Groups of Ivorians in Abidjan apparently responded to a call by supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo to retake the airport, which was seized by the French on Saturday. The BBC's James Copnall in Abidjan said a helicopter flew low over a bridge that splits the city, and fired warning shots as thousands of young men were trying to cross over. Some protesters ransacked homes of Europeans in the Bietry district of the city as they dispersed. Earlier, at least two French schools and a library were set alight and French property looted. Rioters were seen brandishing axes, machetes and clubs as they roamed the streets shouting "French go home!" and "Everybody get your Frenchman!" A French military spokesman said they had rescued 80-90 French citizens from dangerous situations. But Paris strongly rejected suggestions its troops had killed Ivorian civilians. "Army command denies the report that around 30 Ivorians were killed and another 100 wounded by the French army," said defence ministry spokesman Gerad Dubois, quoted by French news agency AFP. Explosions and heavy gunfire were also reportedly heard in the capital Yamoussoukro. President Gbagbo has appealed through a spokesman for an end to attacks on French interests pending an investigation into Saturday's events. A government spokesman called the air raid in which the French soldiers died a mistake. An uneasy calm seems to have returned, our correspondent in Abidjan says. Meanwhile, Paris has dispatched an extra two companies of troops to beef up a force of 4,000 already deployed since the end of the civil war last year. It has also redeployed three jet fighters to the region. President Jacques Chirac ordered the "immediate destruction of Ivorian military aircraft used in recent days in violation of the ceasefire". Paris said it had destroyed two Sukhoi warplanes and three helicopter gunships - virtually the entire Ivory Coast airforce. Tolerance ended The BBC's world affairs correspondent, Mark Doyle, says this is the most serious crisis between France and its former colony since independence in 1960. Ivory Coast was for many years a tolerant melting pot of religions and ethnic groups, but a coup in 1999 followed by civil war ended all of that with a vengeance, our correspondent says. Tensions reached boiling point after deadlines for reforms and disarmament designed to lead to peace were missed. The African Union has urged both the government and rebels to refrain from any further violations of the truce they signed. IVORY COAST'S PEACE UNRAVELS 29 Sept: Ivorian parliament fails to agree citizenship laws, which were a key requirement of the January 2003 peace deal 13 Oct: Ivorian rebels say they will not disarm, as planned, until immigration laws are changed 28 Oct: Vendors selling newspapers accused of supporting the opposition are attacked by pro-government militants in Abidjan and southern towns The New Forces order eight rebel ministers to return to the rebel-held north, saying it had discovered the government smuggling arms across its territory 4 Nov: Government launches air strikes on rebel-held territory in north 5 Nov: More government air strikes and clashes on the ground in north, as unrest erupts in Abidjan 6 Nov: French forces destroy five Ivorian air force aircraft after an air strike leaves French soldiers dead
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WinsettZ    A change in French-ness   11/11/2004 12:16:58 AM
At least they blasted the crap out of the Ivorian airforce, in contrast to predictions of surrender. They might surrender to the smoking ruin of the Ivorian airforce, so all bets are still in the air... :P
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