Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Ivory Coast army retakes border town

18 May 2014, 15:51

Abidjan - Ivory Coast's army took back control of a village on its southwestern border with Liberia on Friday after gunmen seized it in an attack that killed 13 people, the country's defence minister said.

Around 40 men attacked and looted the village of Fetai, located on the Cavally River separating Ivory Coast and Liberia, early on Thursday, Paul Koffi Koffi told journalists in the commercial capital Abidjan.

The Ivorian military launched a counter-attack early on Friday to drive them out.

"There was an ambush that killed three [soldiers]... Ten were killed among the civilian population. We're carrying out clean-up operations in the forest and we've gone all the way to the Cavally River... The situation is under control," he said.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is recovering from a decade-long political crisis that culminated in a brief 2011 civil war after former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept his election defeat to Alassane Ouattara.

Gunmen from Liberia have staged several assaults on towns near the border in recent years that the government and United Nations have blamed on Liberian mercenaries and Gbagbo allies. Fetai was last attacked in February.

"This isn't an attack like the other times... These are the youth from the region who are refugees. They are bandits," Koffi Koffi said, rejecting the idea that the raid was politically motivated.

However, local residents said the fighters were armed with heavy weapons and the parliamentarian for the area said they had launched their raid from across the border in Liberia.

"These were Ivorian militia based in Liberia," MP Yaya Coulibaly told Reuters by telephone from Grabo, a town 10km from Fetai.

"Some of the villagers were taken hostage by them. They said their accents were Ivorian. A few of them even recognised the faces of some of the attackers," he said.

Cross-border threat

Coulibaly said he knew of seven villagers who had been killed in the attack in addition to the three soldiers. None of the raiders were killed in the army's counter-attack, he said, adding that about 2 500 people had fled to Grabo from outlying villages for safety.

Koffi Koffi estimated that around 500 people had been displaced by the clashes.

Gbagbo is currently awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for suspected crimes against humanity during the 2011 war, in which around 3 000 people died.

About 220 000 Ivorians fled into Liberia during the post-election conflict and around 46 000 - among them former pro-Gbagbo militia fighters - remain there, according to the United Nations' refugee agency.

A UN panel of experts charged with monitoring Ivory Coast's arms embargo wrote in a report last month that, despite a general improvement in security in the country, Liberia-based fighters remained a threat.

"The structure and military capacity [in terms of combatants, weapons and related materiel] of the mercenaries in Liberia and the Ivorian militia remain highly operational," the report said.

The UN is gradually reducing its peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast as it faces new crises in the region, notably in Mali and Central African Republic.

Ivory Coast asked the United Nations to consider deploying drones along its border with Liberia to offset the planned peacekeeper draw-down. However, their deployment has been put on hold thanks to improved security, the world body said.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...