UN, French troops evacuate Indian envoy in I. Coast

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UN peacekeepers and French troops on Friday evacuated India's ambassador to the Ivory Coast where heavy fighting has raged for the past few days, the foreign ministry said in New Delhi.

It said India sought assistance from United Nations peacekeepers to evacuate ambassador Shamma Jain from her official home in Abidjan's diplomatic enclave.

"On account of the ... grave danger, ambassador Jain was safely evacuated from her residence at our request by the UN forces in Ivory Coast, who were ably supported by French troops," the ministry said in a statement.

"It may be mentioned that some other heads of mission have also similarly been evacuated," the statement said, adding that other Indian embassy personnel were safe in the strife-torn country.

"Members of the Indian community are also safe though forced to remain indoors on account of the prevailing security situation in the city," the statement added.

The evacuation came as Ivory Coast's UN-recognised president Alassane Ouattara enforced a blockade around his rival Laurent Gbagbo's Abidjan home, and the world body said it had found more than 100 bodies in the country's west.

© 2011 AFP

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