Gbagbo aide slams French 'army of occupation' in Ivory Coast

3rd April 2011, Comments 0 comments

France's military mission in Ivory Coast "is behaving like an army of occupation without any mandate" from the UN after it took over Abidjan's airport, an aide to incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo said on Sunday.

"We feel that this force is behaving in Ivory Coast like an army of occupation without any mandate, because the UN mandate does not authorise Licorne to occupy a sovereign state's airport," Toussaint Alain told journalists in Paris.

France's Licorne (Unicorn) mission on Sunday took control of Abidjan airport in coordination with the UN peacekeeping mission (UNOCI) as forces loyal to Gbagbo and his globally recognised rival Alassane Ouattara struggle for control of the city.

Alain described Ouattara's forces that have taken control of almost all of the country as "a coalition of mercenaries and European and American soldiers benefiting from Licorne's logistical and intelligence support.

"The French army has entered into the service of the rebellion... the French army has become the rebellion's auxiliary," Alain said.

"We thought we were dealing with Ouattara's rebellion... in reality Ivory Coast is at war with the French army. We would like to ask French and international public opinion about the acts of the French state that will be responsible for, guilty of a civil war."

© 2011 AFP

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