Five Killed in Ivory Coast Attack

Posted April 25th, 2012 at 7:10 pm (UTC-5)
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A military official in Ivory Coast says unidentified gunmen killed at least five people and wounded several others in an overnight attack on a town in the restive southwest bordering Liberia.

The unnamed official said Wednesday the two-hour assault took place in the remote town of Sakre and that military authorities arrested several men suspected of involvement in the raid.

Witnesses said the attackers torched several houses and looted shops. Their claim could not be independently verified.

The attack came a day after Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara wrapped up his tour of the western part of the country aimed at healing divisions in the region following a civil war in early 2011. The war was sparked by former president Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to step down after losing presidential elections to Mr. Ouattara in November 2010.

During the six-month crisis, forces loyal to Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Ouattara, the internationally recognized president-elect, fought a bitter war, during which forces loyal to both sides allegedly committed atrocities.

Military and militia loyal to Mr. Gbagbo have been accused of killing pro-Ouattara political leaders, gang-raping women believed to support Mr. Ouattara, attacking pro-Ouattara neighborhoods of Abidjan with rockets and heavy artillery, and stopping hundreds of perceived Ouattara supporters at checkpoints to torture and execute them.

Pro-Ouattara fighters are accused of killing civilians from pro-Gbagbo ethnic groups, raping women, burning villages and taking part in the massacre of hundreds of residents of the western town of Duekoue, during the offensive launched in late March 2011 that ultimately ousted president Gbagbo.

Mr. Ouattara has repeatedly pledged to hold perpetrators of abuses on both sides accountable.