Peacekeepers attacked in Ivory Coast

Dec. 29, 2010 at 11:23 AM
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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- A soldier with the U.N. mission in the Ivory Coast was slashed with a machete as the political impasse moves closer to regional conflict, officials warned.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Ivory Coast said a crowd attacked its convoy in Abidjan, torching the vehicles and slashing a member of the peacekeeping force.

"(The mission) vigorously condemns this attack and reiterates its determination to pursue its work in the service of the Ivorian people," a U.N. statement read.

Security forces in the Ivory Coast managed to intervene and calm the situation, the U.N. peacekeeping mission added.

Political violence flared in the Ivory Coast after a November presidential election brought rival claims to power. Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo has refused to give up power despite international support for opposition leader Alassane Ouattara.

Gbagbo had warned that U.N. forces could be viewed as rebel fighters.

West African leaders are said to be weighing military action in the Ivory Coast as the stalemate drags on. Military forces remain loyal to Gbagbo and more than 100 are reported to have been killed in post-election violence.

Eric Ane, a spokesman for Gbagbo, told Bloomberg News that West African leaders planned to return to Abidjan in an effort to break the political impasse.

"They said they're going to Abuja to discuss the situation with (Nigerian President) Goodluck Jonathan, and promised to come back after," he said.

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