Monday, April 4, 2011

Ivory Coast: United Nations launch air strikes on Laurent Gbagbo

The United Nations has launched air attacks against Laurent Gbagbo, the Ivory Coast strongman who has refused to relinquish power, in retaliation for “reckless and mindless” attacks on its personnel and civilians.

According to witnesses, at least four missiles were fired from UN helicopters in Abidjan, the economic capital.

Hamadou Toure, the UN’s chief spokesman in Ivory Coast, told The Daily Telegraph the UN had struck two military camps controlled by Mr Gbagbo along with the presidential palace and his residence.

He declined to say what weapons were being used, but stressed that care was being taken to ensure civilians were not being harmed. “We are engaged in neutralising the heavy weapons that Mr Gbagbo’s special forces have been using for the last few months against civilians and our forces,” he said.

“Despite all our warnings and alerts, they kept using these heavy weapons against us. What we are doing is in line with our mandate and in line with resolution 1975 adopted last week. Our mandate is protect innocent lives and that is what we are doing.”

The strikes were carried out by helicopters from the French force Licorne. (read more)