Ivory Coast: December 29, 2002


  Far West Ivorian Popular Movement [MPIGO] rebels clashed with a 2nd Foreign Legion Paratrooper Regiment outpost north west of Duekoue. Fire from 81mm mortars and three Sagaie wheeled armored vehicles drove the rebels off after 30 seconds, without casualties on either side. It was the second clash in two days. 

A rebel leader soon apologized for the clashes and claimed that the French were fired on by mistake, but also accused them of tolerating government mercenaries in Duekoue. He swore that there were no Ivorian soldiers in the town, only hired fighters. 

If rebel units can bypass Duekoue, their path to the coast would be open and the situation could get even uglier. A large French community lives in San Pedro, the country's second largest port where a good proportion of Ivory Coast's cocoa is shipped and an obvious rebel objective. - Adam Geibel


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