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French peace troops killed in Ivory Coast

Two French peacekeepers have been killed in clashes with rebels in Ivory Coast, the first to die since France sent 4,000 peacekeepers to the west African state in January. Lieutenant-Colonel Jerome Salle, as French military spokesman, said the two soldiers were part of a group patrolling Lake Kossou, in the demilitarised “confidence zone” set up between the rival groups in the centre of the country. The soldiers had landed their patrol boat in the village of Sakassou, south of the rebel stronghold of Bouake, and were talking with villagers when “well-armed rebels” in a pick-up truck arrived, he said. The rebel troops appeared to be drunk or high on drugs, the spokesman said, citing witnesses to the killings. The French troops got into a heated exchange with the rebels, who withdrew before opening fire on the peacekeepers. Full Story

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