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Violence flares in Ivory Coast as gunmen target police

Latest update : 2012-10-15

Violence returned to Ivory Coast on Monday when gunmen attacked a power station in the capital Abidjan while police also came under fire from armed men in the east of the country, officials reported.

Gunmen attacked a power plant overnight in Ivory Coast's economic capital Abidjan, while police came under attack at Bonoua, further east, Defence Minister Paul Koffi Koffi said Monday.
"Armed men in military uniform were reported at the Azito power station at around 3:00 am (0300 GMT) and tried to take control of the site," he told AFP.
"There were several arrests, we're in the process of heading towards interrogations," Koffi Koffi said, adding that initial reports were that about 10 people took part in the attack on the power station.
A source in the Ivorian electrical power company said there had been damage. The power plant is located in the Yopougon district of western Abidjan and feeds electricity to much of the city. One generator was out of service.
Earlier in the night, the police and paramilitary police were attacked at Bonoua, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of Abidjan, the minister said.
"That began at about 11:00 pm. We heard heavy weapons fire and Kalashnikovs," a local resident said.
A source on the general staff of the Republican Forces (Ivory Coast's army), who asked not to be named, said that there was "one dead in the ranks of the attackers", who fled eastwards, towards the border with Ghana.
Koffi Koffi said he had no details of casualties.
"During the night, there was a holdup at the police post. The robbers then headed for the gendarmerie (paramilitary police base). They came under fire and fled towards the village of Samo," the minister said.
A series of bloody attacks was carried out in August against security forces, heightening tensions after the end of a post-electoral crisis in 2010-2011, which claimed around 3,000 lives.
The most recent attacks date from September 20-21, mainly around an Ivorian outpost on the border with Ghana.
The government of President Alassane Ouattara has blamed these attacks on supporters of toppled president Laurent Gbagbo, who deny resorting to violence.
Gbagbo himself is being held in The Hague, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court.



Date created : 2012-10-15


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