Ivory Coast: February 19, 2003


Starting at around 7 AM, MPCI forces with machetes raided towns in central Ivory Coast. According to a local Catholic priest, the rebels looted and killed. Several people were beheaded, while others had their hands and feet amputated. Although the MPCI claimed that it knew of no clashes near the central sugar-growing town of Zuenoula, villagers who fled the surrounding countryside also confirmed the attack. Zuenoula is about 300 km northwest of the economic capital Abidjan.

MPCI rebels then engaged the army with RPGs, mortars and Kalachnikovs. The Ivorian military forces responded with heavy artillery. Helicopters then backed ground troops as the army launched what it described as a mopping-up operation. The army admitted that they lost one soldier killed and 12 wounded during the rebel assault. The government has urged the population to not remain in the villages and in the country side but instead to find shelter in the cities and to remain at home. - Adam Geibel


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