Ivory Coast: November 18, 2003

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The coalition of rebels known as the "New Forces" have decided to call the government on it's "talking trash". The Patriotic Movement of Cote d'Ivoire (MPCI) Chief of Staff said that his troops had declared a "state of emergency" and recalled all MPCI military commanders to Bouake because of an "act of war" that had been signed by Ivorian army chief of staff and President Gbagbo. They said their actions were in response to government preparations to launch attacks on their positions.

The rebels then rolled out a "massive" display of heavy weapons in Bouake (379 kilometers north of the commercial capital Abidjan), hours after declaring a state of emergency in areas under their control. A convoy of trucks loaded with rebel troops, antiaircraft guns and rocket-propelled grenades drove around the city in the early afternoon.

Some trucks headed along the highway from Bouake to the north. More heavily armed fighters, dressed in combat gear, patrolled the streets, telling civilians they were "searching for infiltrators" (remember, these are the same guys who spend their days getting high sniffing glue).

Apparently, some recent declarations by government officials raised the rebels' hackles. Gbagbo had made a speech to ECOWAS heads of states in Accra on November 12, where he said that his army was well equipped and could flush the rebels out within two weeks. - Adam Geibel


 

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