Ivory Coast: May 6, 2003

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West African peacekeepers played down reports of fresh skirmishes, noting that it takes time for all of the remote groups to get the word about the new ceasefire and the Ivorian army was unaware of any fresh fighting.

A rebel spokesman said that government troops and foreign mercenaries attacked rebel positions in the villages near the country's western border with Liberia. The army spokesman was unaware of any fighting, counterclaiming that they had held those towns for so long that if there was fighting there, they must be attacking us. Rebel allegations couldn't be independently verified from the towns. 

The rebels claim to have shown their commitment to peace by forcing their former foreign comrades back to Liberia. They are now demanding that the government must now get rid of their own allies, although the army has consistently denied having any Liberians on its side at all. 

The government contends that renegade fighters still roam the lawless frontier. Officials claim that a joint military operation (including both the army and rebels, as well as French and West African peacekeepers) will soon be deployed to western Ivory Coast to enforce the cease-fire. - Adam Geibel

 

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