Massive fighting between rebels and government forces in Ivory Coast Wednesday claimed the lives of at least 29 people and cast a heavy shadow over peace talks in France, already marred by a top Ivorian official's claim that Paris was trying to topple President Laurent Gbagbo.
As French-brokered talks to end a four-month war in Ivory Coast finished a seventh day, the Ivorian military accused rebels of staging a bloody attack on their forces in the western town of Toulepleu.
Lieutenant Colonel Jules Yao Yao, the spokesman for the Ivorian army, said its forces were attacked by between 400 and 500 rebels, most of whom he described as Liberian mercenaries.
"The provisionary toll is four dead and 15 wounded on the government side and 25 dead and lots of arms and weapons seized on the side of the enemy", and added, "The battle is continuing".
MPIGO rebel chief Sergeant Felix Doh "categorically" denied that his men were in any way involved in the Toulepleu attack, in a statement to AFP on the sidelines of the France peace talks. (Albawaba.com)
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