8000 French evacuated from Ivory Coast

19th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 19 (AFP) - More than half the French passport-holders resident in the Ivory Coast left the country as a result of the violence there earlier this month, the French foreign ministry said Friday.

PARIS, Nov 19 (AFP) - More than half the French passport-holders resident in the Ivory Coast left the country as a result of the violence there earlier this month, the French foreign ministry said Friday.

The ministry said 8,332 French citizens fled the Ivory Coast between November 10 and 18.

The exodus began as supporters of President Laurent Gbabgo went on the rampage of assault, looting and in, in some cases, rape, and thousands of foreigners sought refuge at a French army base near Abidjan.

The unrest erupted after Gbagbo's air force hit a French military outpost, killing nine soldiers and an American civilian, and France retaliated by destroying the country's small air force.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous said 5,434 French citizens, including 1,560 children, were evacuated aboard 14 flights chartered by the government. A further 2,898 French citizens left aboard planes provided by other European countries or on military flights.

About 14,000 French citizens lived in the Ivory Coast before the violence broke out, of whom 8,000 had dual nationality. Ladsous said France also evacuated 593 foreigners of other nationalities.

A round-the-clock crisis center set up by the ministry to handle the evacuation was closed on Thursday.

Ladsous said the ministry spent almost EUR 5 million (USD 6.5 million) on the evacuation operation.

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article