French soldiers killed in Ivory Coast

Two French soldiers have been killed and a third wounded during clashes with former rebels in Ivory Coast.

    French soldiers trying to keep the peace in restless country

    The deaths are the first French combat losses since the country deployed troops to the West African nation last year.

    The men were attacked on Monday near the central town of Sakassou, by rebels who appeared to be drunk, said a spokesman for the French army headquarters in Paris, Colonel Christian Battiste, on Tuesday.

    A patrol of about 25 French soldiers had been chatting with local fishermen when a group of 15 to 20 former rebels arrived and started hurling abuse, said Battiste.

    The French spokesman said the former rebels then started shooting. French soldiers returned fire. Two soldiers died of their wounds after being hit in the head and chest. A third was wounded in the foot.

    French and regional peacekeepers are patrolling a frontline between the government held-south and the rebel-held north of Ivory Coast, following a civil war sparked by a failed coup in September 2000. 

    Thousands of people were killed in the fighting.

    France had a base in the West African state with about 600 troops prior to the outbreak of war. It deployed another 1000 soldiers in the following weeks before stepping up its ground force at the end of December with foreign legionnaires.

    A spokesman for the Rebel New Forces said he had heard about the attack over the radio and investigations are underway.

    Battiste said Monday’s gunbattle was an isolated incident, adding that the vast majority of the Rebel New Forces were co-operating with the peace effort.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.