African intellectuals protest French action in Ivory Coast

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An organisation of African intellectuals on Tuesday protested against attacks by French forces in Ivory Coast in support of efforts to remove incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo.

"If it is the future of Ivory Coast that so interests you, and not controlling the country's people and resources, this objective is not attainable by arms, but by the Ivorians renegotiating themselves," the Dakar-based Committee of African Intellectuals said in a letter sent to the French ambassador in Senegal.

"What is this France that insults the law?" Malik Ndiaye, a professor at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, told journalists on behalf of the committee.

"Licorne clear off! UNOCI clear off!" he said, in reference to the French military force in Ivory Coast and the UN mission in the country.

Forces from the United Nations and France, the former colonial ruler in both Ivory Coast and Senegal, have been backing an assault by internationally recognised president Alassane Ouattara's forces to remove Gbagbo, who refused to step down after November elections.

© 2011 AFP

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