Expatica news

More Belgians flee Ivory Coast

12 November 2004

BRUSSELS – French soldiers have flown 15 more Belgian expats out of the turbulent Ivory Coast, announced the Defence Ministry on Friday.

The expats were taken on Thursday night to safety at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, said a spokesman.

Two people were then taken home in coach by the Belgian army. The rest chose to make their own way back to Belgium.

Two further groups of foreigners also left the former French colony, including 30 Belgians.

One group was expected to arrive at the Melsbroek army base in Belgium on Friday.

The other was due to fly to Eindhoven, in southern Holland.

Expats have become increasingly worried about their safety since the Ivory Coast government broke a cease-fire a week ago and French troops intervened, sparking off xenophobic violence in the country.

Although there were signs on Friday that the capital Abidjan, where most of the expat community lives, may be returning to normal, foreigners remain fearful.

There have been reports of white women being raped and while no expat has been killed so far, some of the foreigners who have returned home have reported being attacked by men with machetes. 

More evacuations are expected in the days to come.

Some 1,600 people from 42 different countries have been flown to a military camp in France and another 1,600 others are currently taking refuge in UN camps in Abidjan.

Meanwhile, Belgian airline SN Brussels said on Friday it was cancelling flights to the Ivory Coast until further notice.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news