Ivory Coast: January 20, 2003


The Ivory Coast's assorted rebel groups might have finally gone too far. Liberia accused Liberian rebels and mercenaries "fighting alongside Ivory Coast government troops" of attacking and seizing the border town of Beam. However, all known accounts have armed Liberians fighting on the side of Ivory Coast's rebels, rather than the government. Liberian defense officials claim that Ivory Coast government militiamen also came to the border at least twice last week, to warn that they would attack Liberia if they did not stop fighting alongside the rebels in Ivory Coast. 

Refugees from Danane and Man who fled over the border into Guinea say that armed groups in the far west of Ivory Coast have been robbing, raping and attacking civilians. Meanwhile, the main rebel group the Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast (MPCI) plans to have a protest march in Abidjan, although the Ivorian government has stated that they will prevent any such demonstrations. The MPCI claimed that its top man in Abidjan, Ange Felix Kouassi, was detained by police on the 19th. 

Liberia is rife with problems that may infect it's neighbors. On January 12, unidentified armed fighters (some dressed in military attire and others in 'T' shirts, all believed to be LURD rebels) from neighboring Liberia infiltrated Sierra Leoneon territory and attack a number of towns and villages near Buedu. A three-hour long battle between the marauders and the army left two soldiers and an unknown number of invaders dead. - Adam Geibel


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