Thousands flee after deadly Ivory Coast attacks

Sun June 10, 2012 5:07pm

And a resident of Para village in the same area told AFP by phone: "There's panic in the villages, many are fleeing into the forest, others are heading for Liberia."

In Monrovia, Liberian Information Minister Lewis Brown said the government had decided on the "immediate closure of its border", adding that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had ordered soldiers to be deployed on the frontier.

"Individuals found to have participated in cross border attacks will be arrested and extradited to Ivory Coast," Brown said at a press conference.

Desgroseilliers said aid workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Danish Refugee Council and local groups were on site to assist those displaced, including supplying food and water.

OCHA was trying to coordinate the response to the situation with local authorities, she added.

Ivorian defence minister Paul Koffi Koffi said one Ivorian soldier on patrol with the UN force also died in the attack, while another army source said two of their men had been killed.

Abidjan said it had already sent reinforcements to the troubled region.

On Friday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was "outraged" by the killing of the Niger peacekeepers, the biggest losses suffered by the 10,000-strong UN mission in Ivory Coast (ONUCI) since it was deployed in 2004.

Niger Justice Minister and government spokesman Marou Amadou expressed the government's shock at the deaths.

"All measures should be taken to see that this serious act does not go unpunished," he told AFP, adding that the 900-strong Niger contingent would nevertheless continue its work with ONUCI.

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