Ivory Coast: January 31, 2003


Violent clashes broke out on the morning of the 30th at the Ivory Coast's international airport between French troops and hundreds of supporters of the Ivorian President. About 5,000 protesters massed at the airport by midmorning, and numbers of them held the tarmac for about 45 minutes. The crowd had stormed the tarmac and taunting French passengers trying to escape, injuring at least two French soldiers with rocks. When Ivorian troops could not control the situation, heavily armed French forces in armored vehicles and helicopters then took the airport. 

While France is ready to evacuate all of its nationals, the role of French peacekeeping troops might expand. President Charles Taylor returned from the Paris peace talks to disclose that peacekeeping troops would also be deployed on the Liberian side of the border. ECOWAS and United Nations troops would also be accepted. - Adam Geibel


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