UN convoy attacked by gunman in Ivory Coast as peacekeeping forces ordered to leave country

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

The United Nations mission in Abidjan, Ivory Coast has said that one of its convoys and mission headquarters was attacked by masked gunmen in military uniforms. According to the mission, a civilian vehicle with six men inside approached the convoy. When the convoy approached the compound's entrance the gunmen opened fire.

"[A convoy] was followed by a group of six armed men dressed in military clothing on board a civilian vehicle. On arriving outside the UNOCI headquarters in Sebroko, the occupants of the civilian vehicle fired shots in the direction of the UNOCI patrol as it entered the mission compound," said a statement from the United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI). Shots were fired back at the gunmen, but none were hit. There were no reports of any injuries.

The attack comes as President Laurent Gbagbo ordered all UN and French peacekeeping forces to leave the country. "The government demands the departure of the UNOCI and LICORNE [French] forces in Ivory Coast and is opposed to any renewal of their mandate," said government spokesman Jacqueline Oble. Gbagbo claimed victory in the nation's elections on November 28. Alassane Ouattara won the presidential run-off election on December 3 according to the country's electoral commission. However, the Constitutional Council has contested the announcement.

Though the results are backed by the nation's top legal body, deadly protests have erupted with demonstrators and Ouattara calling the election a fraud. The French government and the UN have also rejected the election results. On Thursday, according to Amnesty International, nine unarmed demonstrators were fatally shot by Ivorian security forces during a mass protest in Abidjan.

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