Ivory Coast: April 12, 2003


: At 1230, the government claimed that MPIGO, MJP and MPCI rebels attacked defense and security forces in Zuenoula. After two hours of heavy and light artillery exchange, the rebels were routed and only minimal damage was reported.

The MPCI claimed, in a letter to the UN, that the government was planning an offensive in the west. They gave details from two classified documents they apparently stole from Mi-24 pilots living in Abidjan. The attacks could only be launched after one week of rain had fallen, which would limit the rebels' ability to counter any moves.

The Mi-24s would also be used in an attack on Bouake, the plan being to capture the town within five hours after the gunships strafed rebel positions from an altitude of 50 meters. The attack called for 1,500 seasoned government troops and 1,000 recruits, backed by whatever armored vehicles the government had and 12 South-African made armored vehicles. The rebels also listed recent munitions deliveries to the government: 500 AK47s and 100 GPMGs, along with a million cartridges, plus six 81mm mortars, 1,000 RPG7 rounds and 2,000 hand grenades. - Adam Geibel


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