Youths kill three Burkinabe west of Abidjan

Abidjan- Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) -- A group of Ivorian youths on Tuesday killed three Burkinabe peasants in Duékoué, a government-held area about 500 km west of Abidjan, an informed source said here Wednesday.
According to the source, the three were in a group of four, all of Burkinabe nationality, had just sold their crops in the town when the irate youths beat them to death and stole their money.
Their badly injured colleague, Karim Ouedraogo, was transported to the Duekoue hospital in critical conditions.
Violence almost spread throughout the town after the announcement of the fatal aggression, especially in Guere area where excited youths tried to ransack shops and homes of foreigners, who were preparing to retaliate.
French military sources said a generalised clash between the two communities near the market was only averted following the intervention of French peacekeepers under "Operation Licorne" and their counterparts from the Armed Forces of Cote d'Ivoire (FANCI).
Operation Locorne's spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Brunot Misset told PANA in Abidjan that 11 people were slightly injured during incidents that occurred near the market Tuesday morning and afternoon.
Locals and people of Burkinabe origin have clashed on several occasions in Duekoué district since the outbreak of military insurrection in Cote d'Ivoire on 19 September 2002.
Scores of people have died on both sides during clashes generated by accusations that the Burkinabe were accomplices of former Ivorian rebel groups, particularly the Patriotic Movement of the Greater West (MPIGO) and the Peace and Justice Movement (MJP), which control a large chunk of western Cote d'Ivoire.
However, according to French military sources, the main reason behind the recurrent attacks against the Burkinabe migrants was to steal their crops or money, as was the case in Tuesday's incident.
The bloody incident occurred while the special rapporteur of the UN Commission on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, Doudou Diene, is touring Cote d'Ivoire.
Diene, who arrived here 9 February, is investigating Widely published allegations that these vices have become common place since the military insurrection.

18 february 2004 15:17:00

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