Ivory Coast: November 6, 2004

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The government's two newly acquired Su-25 warplanes bombed a French barracks in the rebel held north. Nine French soldiers were killed (along with an American aid worker) and 23 were wounded. In retaliation, French in the south seized the airport outside the commercial capital (Abidjan), where the Ivory Coast air force is based, and destroyed five air force aircraft on the ground (including two Russian made Su-25s and three Mi-24 helicopter gunship). France also announced that it had moved three Mirage F1 fighters from Chad to an airbase in nearby Gabon. This means that the Ivory Coast air force is being encouraged to stay on the ground, or die. There are apparently still two Mi-24 helicopter gunships available to the government, plus some older Alpha jets. The Su-25s were the most lethal aircraft the government had, however. The Su-25 is the Russian equivalent of the American A-10 ground attack aircraft. The Su-25 is a 19 ton aircraft with a 30mm cannon and the ability to carry four tons of bombs, rockets and missiles. Russia and other East European countries (or gunrunners) provide these aircraft, including pilots, ground crews and bombs, for those who can pay, and provide a place for the warplanes to operate from. 

 

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