25 June 2012

Liberia: Extradites 41 Ivoirians Suspected of Border Attacks

Photo: Wikipedia
Michel Gbagbo, son of Former President Laurent Gbagbo.

The border between the two countries has seen a number of attacks resulting in at least 60 deaths. The Liberian government has extradited 41 Ivorians accused of trying to launch cross-border raids on Ivory Coast. They were arrested by UN peacekeepers in April as they tried to cross from Liberia with guns and ammunition.

It was believed the group was working in support of former president Laurent Gbagbo, who is facing war crimes charges in The Hague. Violent border attacks have resulted in at least 60 deaths, including those of seven UN peacekeepers earlier in June.

The 41 Ivorians, who were extradited, are expected to face an investigation in their home country. They were transported in an armed convoy of four trucks from the central prison of Zwerdu to the border, before being handed over to Ivory Coast authorities, according to AFP news agency.

Recently, Ivory Coast said it had foiled a plot to overthrow the government organized by Mr. Gbagbo's supporters. The former president was ousted from power in December 2010, but refused to leave his post for four months. He was captured in April 2011 by recognized election winner Alassane Ouattara's forces.

The BBC's John James in Abidjan says some 70,000 Ivorians have been living in camps and with host families in Liberia near the border after fleeing the country in the wake of the crisis.

He said the crisis had added to existing disputes in the border region over rights to cocoa-producing land - Ivory Coast is the world's biggest cocoa producer.

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