Armed men wearing army uniforms interrupted national television to demand that French peacekeepers leave the frontline separating the military from rebels controlling the north of country. A man wearing the red beret of a junior officer said he was speaking on behalf of the west African state’s entire armed forces, but insisted that “this is not a coup d’etat.” The unidentified man also demanded the resignation of the country’s army chief of staff and other senior leaders within 48 hours, and said they were ready to “free the country.” He said the leaders should take responsibility for a series of skirmishes between pro-government supporters, soldiers and French troops policing a demilitarized zone separating the south from the north. The announcement came as President Laurent Gbagbo and army leaders flew by French helicopter to the area to try to restore calm. Full Story
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