Monday, April 4, 2011

'French military occupying Ivory Coast'

Toussaint Alain, aide to incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo

Source: Press TV

An aide to incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo says the French military is behaving in a similar fashion to an occupation army, after their seizure of Ivory Coast's airport in Abidjan.

"We feel that this force is behaving in Ivory Coast like an army of occupation without any mandate, because the UN mandate does not authorize Licorne to occupy a sovereign state's airport," AFP quoted Toussaint Alain, aide to Gbagbo, as saying on Sunday.

The French Licorne (Unicorn) mission and the UN peacekeeping mission (UNOCI) have taken control of Abidjan's airport as the struggle between Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara's forces intensifies.

Ivorian president-elect Ouattara has shown support for the UN and French intervention in the North African nation.

More than 15,000 foreign troops are currently stationed in the crisis-hit country, including 700 French troops.

The Red Cross says that some 800 people have been killed during the capture of Duekoue, last Tuesday.

While much of the international community has recognized Ouattara as the winner of the vote, Gbagbo refuses to give up power. Tensions escalated as both sides claimed to be the winner and appointed separate cabinets.

Post-election violence has left at least 494 people dead. A United Nations report has also said that up to one million people have fled their homes so far.

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