Ivorians are once again reporting cross border violence on their soil.
This time it reportedly involved at least four Ivorian soldiers and several attackers who were killed when suspected gunmen crossed over from Liberia and raided a border town in the west of Ivory Coast on Sunday, February 23.
There have been reports that gunmen from Liberia have carried out several assaults on towns near the border in recent years. The Ivorian government and the United Nations have blamed those acts of violence on allies of former president Laurent Gbagbo of La Côte d’Ivoire.
Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producing nation, is recovering from a decade-long political crisis that culminated in 2011 in a brief civil war after Gbagbo refused to accept his election defeat to present President Alassane Ouattara.
Ivory Coast’s defense minister Paul Koffi Koffi told Reuters that the latest attack took place early on Sunday in the small town of Grabo, but the situation was now under control.
“They attacked a border post. We had to pull back. UN troops intervened to support us,” Koffi Koffi said. “What is clear is that the situation is now under control.”
The Reuters News Agency quotes him as saying that several attackers were killed but he did not have an exact death toll. The news organization said local authorities and residents reached by telephone told them that at least four Ivorian soldiers were killed and three gunmen were arrested.
Yaya Coulibaly, a parliamentarian from Grabo, said he was told by the local army commander that four soldiers died.
“I’m in contact with the mayor who said that the situation was returning to normal but there was still some tension due to sporadic gunfire that is still being heard,” Coulibaly said.
Grabo resident Ouattara Do, a director of a local cocoa cooperative, said the attack occurred around 4 a.m. local time after the assailants crossed over from Liberia.
“They attacked the local gendarme post and the army camp. They were pushed back with the help of the United Nations forces in Ivory Coast,” Do said.
President Ouattara is recovering after an operation in a French hospital this month. Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court for suspected crimes against humanity during the war, in which around 3,000 people died.