ECOWAS defence chiefs meet on peace mission to Cote d'Ivoire

  Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- Defence Chiefs of the nine countries that have agreed to contribute troops to  the ECOWAS peacekeeping force for Cote d'Ivoire were due to meet in Abuja, Nigeria, Wednesday, the ECOWAS Secretariat said in a statement.
   The statement said the two-day meeting will review the structure of the 2,300-strong force, expected to be deployed within the next week, and to determine the vacancies to be filled at the proposed headquarters of the force in Yamoussoukro.
   The ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council approved the deployment of the peace-keepers at its meeting in Abidjan 26 October.
The peace-keepers will take over for the more than 1,000 French troops who have been monitoring the cease-fire signed by the Ivorian government forces and rebel soldiers who mutinied 19 September.
   Hundreds have been killed and many more displaced since the mutiny, with most of the northern part of the country now in rebel hands.
   Nine ECOWAS member States -- Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo -- have pledged to contribute troops, whose mandate will include monitoring compliance with the 17th October cease-fire.
The sub-regional force will also facilitate the resumption of public services, ensure the free movement of persons and goods in areas under rebel control as well as implement decisions relating to the disarmament of the insurgents.
The mission will equally ensure the safety of the insurgents and humanitarian agencies.

05 november 2002 14:00:00

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