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Côte D’ivoire: UN Forces Deploy North Of Abidjan


Côte D’ivoire: UN Forces Deploy North Of Abidjan Following Attack On Police

United Nations peacekeeping forces have been deployed to an area north of Abidjan, the strife-torn West African country’s major city, to help restore calm after an attack by unidentified assailants on a Gendarme brigade and police station.

The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), set up last year to help maintain a ceasefire between Government forces and the rebel Forces nouvelles, sent the troops to Agboville, 70 kilometres north of Abidjan, where the assailants were reported to have moved after the attack on the post at Anyama on Saturday.

“UNOCI is keeping the United Nations Secretary-General and, through him, the Security Council fully apprised of developments as well as of dangerous incidents that may derail the peace process,” the mission said in its latest news release on the attack, which comes barely three months before elections aimed at ending the country’s conflict.

Fighting first erupted in 2002 when rebels seeking to oust President Laurent Gbagbo seized the north of the country, splitting the world’s largest cocoa producer into two.

UNOCI reiterated an appeal to all parties to maintain calm. It called on the Defence and Security Forces of Côte d’Ivoire (FDS) to ensure the protection of civilians and “invites all Ivorians to exercise restraint and to avoid acts or calls to violence during this sensitive juncture so as to allow a smooth implementation of the peace process.”

The mission stressed that the attack could jeopardize the important progress made in the peace process, particularly in an agreement brokered by South African President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria last month establishing a new timeline for disarmament and elections.

Earlier this month the Security Council demanded that all Ivorian parties and signatories “scrupulously comply” with all aspects of the new deal, the latest effort to revive a peace process deadlocked since April when talks faltered over the timetable.

Just 10 days ago Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced the appointment of former Portuguese Foreign Minister António Monteiro as autonomous High Representative for the elections, now scheduled for October.

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