Six held over I Coast border attack

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REUTERS

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Liberia has arrested six suspects in connection with an attack in Ivory Coast, according to Defence Minister Brownie Samukai.

“Six Ivorian dissidents were arrested by the Joint Task Force while attempting to flee from the Ivory Coast into Liberia,” he told journalists late on Tuesday.

The six were now detained in Toe's Town, following their arrest by the combined force of military, police and immigration services personnel, he added.

A post on Ivory Coast's restive western frontier with Liberia was attacked Monday by gunmen loyal to ousted strongman Laurent Gbagbo, wounding one Ivorian soldier.

Ivory Coast Defence Minister Paul Koffi Koffi said on state television afterwards that seven attackers had fled to Liberia after a counter-offensive and had been handed over to the Ivorian embassy there.

Samukai said however they were still in Liberian police custody.

The raid followed another in the frontier region in June that killed seven UN peacekeepers among some 20 people in all.

That attack was also blamed on forces loyal to Gbagbo, whose refusal to step down after a 2010 election defeat sparked a four-month conflict which claimed some 3,000 lives.

Koffi said the border post at Pekambly near the town of Toulepleu had been “retaken” after the assault by men “coming from Liberia,” with Liberian troops and a UN helicopter providing backup.

Gbagbo was captured in April last year and has been in custody in The Hague since November awaiting trial on charges of crimes against humanity.

Diehard Gbagbo supporters are believed to have fled to Liberia after his fall. Liberian mercenaries were also widely implicated in the Ivory Coast conflict.

Samukai said that arrangements were being made either to try those arrested this week in Liberia or turn them over to Ivorian authorities.

In June Liberia extradited 41 Ivory Coast nationals wanted for their role in last year's bloody post-electoral violence. - AFP


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