Monday, November 15, 2004

Ivory Coast accuses France of shooting civilians

The Government of the Ivory Coast is planning to take legal action against French [militants] accused of shooting civilians. The Ivorian Government is taking its case to the International Court of Justice.

Ivory Coast accused French [militants] of killing up to 60 people during an anti-French demonstration in the commercial capital, Abidjan, last week. Human Rights Minister Victorine Wodie says the perpetrators must be punished.

But France says its soldiers were not responsible for the killings.

The Ivorian Government says it is preparing to lodge its case with the International Court of Justice. It is also seeking compensation from France for the destruction of its air force.

French [militants] blew up several Ivorian fighter aircraft and helicopters after nine French peacekeepers were killed in an air raid in the rebel city of Bouake.

West African leaders will hold emergency talks in Nigeria to discuss the crisis in Ivory Coast.

More than 4,000 foreigners have been evacuated from the country, with civilians and United Nations staff being flown from Abidjan. French patrols are still looking for foreigners who may be hiding in their homes.

The French military is coordinating the evacuation in Ivory Coast and other nations are also sending aircraft to the international airport in Abidjan.

The Royal Air Force has evacuated more than 200 British nationals to nearby Ghana.

The foreigners were forced to flee after more than five days of violent demonstrations and looting.

Africa Union chairman Nigerian President Olusegun Obsanjo is hosting the talks.

By Sally Sara 15 November 04