France says attacked I.Coast strongman at UN request

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France said Monday its military had attacked the positions of troops loyal to Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo after a request from the United Nations.

"The Secretary General of the United Nations asked the president of the republic to continue the participation of French forces in the operations ... to neutralise heavy weapons used against the civilian population," the French presidency said in a statement.

UN and French forces attacked positions held by troops loyal to Gbagbo on Sunday, a day after the Abidjan hotel base of his rival, UN-recognised president Alassane Ouattara, came under fire.

Gbagbo's spokesman accused France, Ivory Coast's former colonial master, of trying to "assassinate" the incumbent leader.

© 2011 AFP

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