Belgian expats evacuated after Ivory Coast unrest

10th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

10 November 2004, BRUSSELS – A group of 49 Belgians were among hundreds of foreigners to be evacuated on Wednesday afternoon from the Ivory Coast where violence has broken out. The Belgium foreign and defence ministries said the expats were among 270 passengers being flown under the protection of French forces from Abidjan to Paris.

10 November 2004

BRUSSELS – A group of 49 Belgians were among hundreds of foreigners to be evacuated on Wednesday afternoon from the Ivory Coast where violence has broken out.
 
The Belgium foreign and defence ministries said the expats were among 270 passengers being flown under the protection of French forces from Abidjan to Paris.

From there, they would be driven by coach by the Belgian army to the military airport in Melsbroek.
 
In a joint statement, the departments of Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht and defence supremo Andre Flahaut said the Belgians had “expressed the desire to be repatriated”.

Their request comes after a week of extreme violence in which 27 people have died and 900 more have been wounded.

The tensions started when the Ivory Coast government broke a cease-fire by bombing rebels in the north of the country.

On Saturday, nine French peacekeepers and an American aid worker were killed.

French troops then destroyed the Ivory Coast’s airforce, sparking off an anti-French uprising.

As a result of the inflammatory situation, thousands of foreigners are desperate to be flown out of the former French colony.

France, which has the largest expatriate community, has up to 8,000 people alone who want to get out.

Belgium’s foreign ministry said, in total, there are around 450 Belgians living on the Ivory Coast, most in the capital Abidjan.

Belgium has stationed a C-130 aircraft in Cotonou, the commercial capital of Benin, which could be called to help with future evacuations.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news

0 Comments To This Article