September 23, 2002 - Peace Corps Press Release: Peace Corps monitoring Volunteers in Ivory Coast

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 09 September 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: September 23, 2002 - Peace Corps Press Release: Peace Corps monitoring Volunteers in Ivory Coast

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, September 23, 2002 - 1:41 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps monitoring Volunteers in Ivory Coast

Read and comment on this press release from the Peace Corps that they have made personal contact with most of the 133 currently serving volunteers who are in Cote d’Ivoire, Africa. Peace Corps is working with the U.S. Embassy and French officials to monitor the situation and ensure that all volunteers are contacted, accounted for and safe.

Read the story at:

Peace Corps Monitoring Volunteers in Cote d’Ivoire*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Peace Corps Monitoring Volunteers in Cote d’Ivoire

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 23, 2002 -- UPDATE 12:30 p.m. (EST) Peace Corps has made personal contact with most of the 133 currently serving volunteers who are in Cote d’Ivoire, Africa. Peace Corps is working with the U.S. Embassy and French officials to monitor the situation and ensure that all volunteers are contacted, accounted for and safe.

This increased communication comes after a rebel uprising in the country entered its third day where rebel forces have clashed with government forces in Abidjan, and the cities of Bouake and Korogho. A curfew continues to be in effect from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. daily.

Volunteers have been on standfast since Friday, the first stage of alert requiring post to contact each volunteer and verify location and status. All volunteers in the city of Abidjan are in secure locations. Volunteers near Boauke and Korogho are being consolidated in case relocation from the area is deemed necessary. At this time, all other volunteers will remain at their sites.

Family members may make inquiries about Cote d’Ivoire/Peace Corps volunteers from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by calling 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After hours, inquiries may be referred to the Peace Corps Duty Officer at 202.638.2574. Peace Corps continues to monitor the situation and regular updates will be posted as new information becomes available.

Ivory Coast geared for showdown

Caption: A French soldier is seen walking past a military vehicle at the airport in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast about 100km (62 miles) south of Bouake Monday Sept. 23, 2002. Insurgents and government soldiers clashed briefly Monday outside Bouake as French troops moved closer, ready to protect and if necessary evacuate foreigners, as Ivory Coast geared up for a showdown in its bloodiest-ever uprising. (AP Photo/Christine Nesbitt)

Read and comment on the folowing story on the situation in the Ivory Coast from MSNBC at:

Ivory Coast geared for showdown

Ivory Coast geared for showdown

French troops move to protect citizens as uprising continues


ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Sept. 23 — Rebels boasted of their firepower, government troops crept up on them for an attack and French soldiers rolled into the countryside to protect foreigners, as Ivory Coast geared up for a showdown in its bloodiest uprising ever.

FRIGHTENED RESIDENTS in two cities controlled by the rebels waited Monday for the assault threatened for days by the government against the insurgents. Military sources claimed government troops have surrounded one of the cities, Bouake, slipping into position unnoticed.

With fears of new fighting high, the uprising was also opening up deadly rivalries between the mainly Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south in a nation that was once an oasis of stability in a region scarred by some of Africa’s most brutal wars.

The rebel soldiers early Monday remained in control of Bouake, the second-largest city in this former French colony, and of Korhogo, an opposition stronghold in the north. Civilians in predominately Muslim Bouake marched by the thousands in a show of support for the rebels Sunday.

"We are armed to the teeth, and there is no going back," a rebel commander known by the nom de guerre Samsara 110 declared, speaking from Korhogo.

He claimed insurgents had 1,000 rebels in Bouake, 780 in Korhogo and more hiding in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan, ready for action.

Among the half-million anxious residents of Bouake were around 100 American children, ranging in age from infants to 12-year-old schoolchildren, who attend a boarding school in the city. The children are the sons and daughters of missionaries working across West Africa.

The insurgents apparently include a core group of 700-800 ex-soldiers angry over their recent purge from the army for suspected disloyalty. The attempt to oust President Laurent Gbagbo, which began Thursday, cost at least 270 lives in the early days alone and injured around 300.

The rebels’ choice to take refuge in mainly Muslim cities has dangerously underscored the country’s regional, religious and ethnic fault lines that lie behind hundreds of deaths since the country’s first coup in 1999.


The same rifts have split the nation’s security forces. The core group of ex-soldiers behind the uprising are believed to have been purged because they were seen as loyal to the country’s former junta leader, Gen. Robert Guei, killed by paramilitaries in the first hours of the uprising.

But Guei’s family and aides have denied Guei’s involvement in the uprising, as have some rebels. While the question of who instigated the coordinated attacks is still unclear, it appears that the uprising has found support among Muslim northerners, who often complain that they are treated as second-class citizens by the authorities.

Gbagbo’s government has blamed the uprising on other countries — an accusation widely believed aimed at the Muslim nation of Burkina Faso, on Ivory Coast’s northern border. Ivory Coast previously has accused Burkina Faso of providing haven and support to armed Ivorian dissidents.

In Paris, Gbagbo spokesman Toussaint Alain called the insurgents "pseudo-rebels" and "dogs of war, mercenaries ... paid by foreigners."

In a region where civil wars often become multi-country affairs, spilling over porous borders, the accusations have raised fears of a wider conflict. Burkina Faso and Liberia — to the west — reinforced their borders with Ivory Coast.


A French convoy rolled out of Abidjan, the commercial capital, Sunday night, heading toward the capital, Yamoussoukro, 150 miles to the north.

A French military spokesman said the troops aimed to assure the security of French nationals and other internationals, trapped in Bouake, 60 miles further north. He did not give details of the size of the convoy, but said it was "substantial."

Earlier Sunday, French transport helicopters and a reported 100 extra French troops landed in Abidjan, reinforcing approximately 600 troops already based there.

The U.S. Embassy said Sunday it had no immediate evacuation plans for its nationals in Ivory Coast.

Nearly 200 foreigners are at Bouake’s International Christian Academy, including 100 American children and around 40 more U.S. staffers, said James Forlines, director of Free Will Baptist Foreign Missions, which has missionaries in the region.

Forlines, speaking from Nashville, Tenn., said the school has virtually no security. "It is a very critical situation," he said. "They are absolutely defenseless and are pinned down and have no way to get out."

The mutiny — the most serious threat to stability in the country since the 1999 coup — began before dawn Thursday, when insurgents launched coordinated attacks on military installations, government sites, and Cabinet ministers’ houses in five cities and towns.

In Abidjan, a lagoon-side city of skyscrapers, well-stocked supermarkets and chic French restaurants, fighting in the first two days of the coup attempt left scores dead on the government side, including a Cabinet minister and senior military officers.

One of the early casualties was Guei. Authorities say he was shot dead after his driver failed to stop at a roadblock. His body was found in civilian clothes by a road in Abidjan.

For decades, residents of Abidjan were unfamiliar with the night-time rattle of machine-gun fire that heralds coup attempts. But since the shattering 1999 coup, tensions have regularly exploded between the mainly Christian south and west and Muslim northerners.

While the French deployment stood to help Europeans, including an estimated 20,000 French, and the nation’s large Lebanese community, danger was greater for hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrant workers from surrounding countries.

In Abidjan, the Red Cross and other international organizations sought shelter for what it said were 3,871 people displaced by the coup violence.

Hundreds lost their homes Friday and Saturday when paramilitary police burned a mostly Muslim shantytown near their base.

© 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ivory Coast



By zzz on Friday, July 04, 2003 - 6:37 am: Edit Post

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