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Fighting in Liberia Spills Over to Ivory Coast

September 05, 1993| From Associated Press

MONROVIA, Liberia — Fighting in eastern Liberia spread this weekend into Ivory Coast, a country accused of supporting the rebel leader who began Liberia's civil war.

The United Nations said Saturday that the fighting, which broke a 6-week-old truce, was serious. But Ivorian Interior Minister Emile Constant Bombet played it down as "an isolated incident."

It was unclear from the conflicting accounts which of Liberia's three warring factions were involved. The 4-year-old civil war has killed 150,000 people.

It was the first reported incident of the warfare spreading into Ivory Coast.

According to Bombet, a Liberian baby girl was shot dead on Thursday at Tai, an Ivorian border village where about 15 Liberian refugees are staying.

Half of the 3.2 million people in Liberia, founded by freed American slaves, are refugees or have been displaced from their homes.

Bombet said Ivorian troops sent to the village reported that the attackers had retreated to Liberia.

The United Nations, however, said the fighting spread from the Liberian town of Towai in Grand Gedeh county. It said the clashes continued Saturday but did not specify whether fighting also was going on in Ivory Coast.

The combat broke a truce between three warring factions brokered by the United Nations on July 25.

Fighting in Grand Gedeh before the truce pitted rebels loyal to chief guerrilla leader Charles Taylor against a rival faction, the United Liberation Movement for Liberia.

Taylor started the war with an invasion from Ivory Coast to topple the dictatorial President Samuel K. Doe. Ivory Coast has been accused of supporting Taylor. The United States has asked the country to stop shipments of arms to Taylor.

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