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Ivorian Troops Accused of Attacks Against Muslims

October 22, 2002|From Associated Press

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Residents of a city in central Ivory Coast accused government troops Monday of burning homes and shooting civilians in attacks that targeted Muslims.

Muslims in Daloa, a city of 160,000 people, said the troops were attacking members of the Dioula, a largely Muslim northern tribe, and migrants from Burkina Faso, a mostly Muslim country to the north.

Ivorian army spokesman Col. Jules Yao Yao said he had received word of atrocities being committed and warned that the guilty "could be shot on sight."

Millions of immigrants from Burkina Faso work in Ivory Coast, often on cocoa plantations. Some have been the target of ethnic attacks since fighting erupted between the government and rebels a month ago.

Hundreds have died in the fighting that split the country between the largely Muslim north, controlled by the rebels, and the mostly Christian and animist south, which remains in government hands. The rebels are led by Tuo Fozie, who served in the army for 23 years and signed a cease-fire last week. About 800 former soldiers form the core of the rebellion.

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