Skip to comments.'Renewed fighting' in Ivory Coast
Posted on 02/04/2003 3:41:39 PM PST by Sparta
A fragile truce is under threat
Rebel fighters have launched attacks against government positions in western Ivory Coast, the Ivorian army has said. If confirmed, it would mark the first fighting since a ceasefire was signed between the government and rebels on 24 January.
An army spokesman said rebel forces had fired on troops on Monday and were moving towards government-held territory.
French soldiers monitoring the peace deal have not reported any breaking of the truce.
Ivorian army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jules Yao Yao said government positions had been attacked 45 kilometres( (30 miles) west of Daloa, a coffee and cocoa growing region.
President Gbagbo has yet to implement the accord
He said troops fought with rebels into the night before the attack was eventually repelled.
Lt Col Yao said a second attack was imminent because a large convoy of rebels had apparently crossed a ceasefire line and was heading into government-held territory.
"If the French do not intervene, we will destroy the rebel movement ourselves," he said.
The BBC's Tom McKinley in Abidjan says it is not clear which rebel group might be responsible for renewed fighting.
The largest, the Ivory Coast Patriotic Movement (MPCI), has denied any involvement.
The western rebel groups, the Ivorian Popular Movement of the Great West (MPIGO) and the Movement for Justice and Peace (MJP), have not yet commented.
Our correspondent says that if what the Ivorian army says is true, it could put paid to an already fragile peace process.
Supporters of Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo are opposed to the deal, saying it hands too much power to the rebels.
The Ivorian army has also refused to accept the peace plan and has called for integral parts of it be changed.
Despite accepting the peace accord, Mr Gbagbo has hinted that he will reject it.
French soldiers monitoring the peace deal have not reported any breaking of the truce.It's hard to see anything with your head stuck up your butt.
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