Ivory Coast: December 1, 2002

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The final toll from the French Peacekeepers' skirmish with rebels at the Man airport was one wounded and 10 rebels killed. French forces have since withdrawn from that region, although Ivorian government troops replaced on the afternoon of 1 December. However, the rebels who overran the city of 135,000 last week claimed that they still held Man. Local reports indicate that this rebel group includes both undisciplined, looting Ivorians and Liberians. Danane definately remains in rebel hands and they also knocked out a government BMP-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle at Vavoua (500 kilometers northwest of Abidjan) on 30 November.

Late in the afternoon of 29 November, French peacekeeping troops in Ivory Coast came under rebel attack north of Bangolo. The next day, another patrol was fired on near Man's airport while they made preparations to evacuate 80 French nationals. In both cases, the French patrols returned fire and there were no casualties among their troops. The recently-appearing Movement for Peace and Justice (MPJ) is suspected of initiating these firefights. This same group also fought with government troops at Toulepleu (about 60 miles south of Danane, which was taken by the rebels on the 29th). The French have made it blatantly clear that attacks on their troops and nationals is not a reasonable idea. - Adam Geibel


 

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