Belarus mercenaries may be in I Coast

12th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

MINSK, Nov 11 (AFP) - Belarus conceded on Thursday that mercenaries from the former Soviet republic may be in strife-torn Ivory Coast, where they have been accused of piloting planes that carried out a fatal attack on French peace-keepers.

MINSK, Nov 11 (AFP) - Belarus conceded on Thursday that mercenaries from the former Soviet republic may be in strife-torn Ivory Coast, where they have been accused of piloting planes that carried out a fatal attack on French peace-keepers.

"There are no Belarussian servicemen in Ivory Coast but we don't answer for former military personnel," Belarus airforce spokesman Vladimir Lavrinyuk said.

Nine French peacekeepers and a US civilian were killed earlier this month when government SU-25 jets bombed a French military camp in Bouake in the course of what the government said were air strikes on rebel positions.

French air forces responded by destroying almost all of Ivory Coast's tiny air force, which consisted of four SU-25 jets and some Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters acquired from Belarus.

The French and US governments said the SU-25s were piloted by mercenaries from Belarus.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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