Many die in Ivory Coast land disputes

At least 11 people have been killed in clashes over land disputes in one of Ivory Coast's major cocoa-growing regions.

    Civil conflict plagues the world's top cocoa-growing nation

    A senior presidential source said on Thursday that

     unidentified people armed with guns and machetes had

    attacked local villagers in Siegouekou, which is close to the

    western cocoa town of Gagnoa.

    "Unidentified people smashed down doors with guns and knives

    and cut the throats of some and fired point blank at

    others," he said.

    The villagers retaliated by attacking farmers from other

    parts of Ivory Coast or from neighbouring West African countries living in

    the area.

    A military source said he knew of 16 dead and believed two

    more people had died of their injuries after the clashes.

    Clashes between rival ethnic groups over precious cocoa land

    are common in the area, where a civil war that erupted in 2002

    has inflamed tribal rivalries.

    Hundreds of migrant farmers, who form the backbone of the

    cocoa workforce in the world's top cocoa producer, have been

    chased off their plantations by villagers who say the land is

    theirs.

    The presidential adviser said it was not immediately clear

    who the attackers were but said they had left a note saying they

    would attack again unless they got their land back.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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