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French Shoot Down Ivory Coast Warplanes

ramy

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French Shoot Down Ivory Coast Warplanes

29 minutes ago  Top Stories - AP


By PAULINE BAX, Associated Press Writer

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - French peacekeepers shot down two Ivory Coast warplanes and a military helicopter Saturday after the aircraft bombed their position, killing a French soldier and wounding 20 others, a U.N. military spokesman said.


AP Photo


Reuters 
Slideshow: Ivory Coast Unrest


 

The clash threatened to bring a serious escalation in Ivory Coast's renewed civil war and to drag in French and U.N. peacekeeping forces, some of whom are deployed in a buffer zone dividing the government-held south and the rebel-controlled north.


The strike was the latest government bombing run since hard-line Ivory Coast army commanders broke a more than year-old cease-fire on Thursday, launching launched airstrikes on rebel positions in the north.


At 1:30 p.m., the warplanes struck French positions at Brobo, near the rebel-held town of Bouake, U.N. military spokesman Philippe Moreux said. "As a response, the French shot down two Sukhoi 25s and one MI-24 helicopter," Moreux said.


A U.N. civilian spokesman, Jean Victor Nkolo, said one French soldier was killed and 20 other French soldiers were injured.


Col. Gerard Dubois, a French military spokesman in Paris, confirmed that two Sukhoi 25 aircraft had opened attack on French positions. French troops shot down the planes. There were "several victims" among the French forces, Dubois said, adding that it was too early for the French to establish a complete tally of dead or injured.


France and the United Nations (news - web sites) have about 10,000 peacekeepers in Ivory Coast, a former French colony.


Ivory Coast military commanders have vowed to retake the north, held by rebels since the September 2002 start of the war in the world's top cocoa producer.


A U.N. military spokesman said the 6,200-strong U.N. force in Ivory Coast lacked the manpower to guard all routes into the rebel north. "It's not impossible for the forces to go around our post" to reach rebel strongholds, spokesman Philippe Moreux said. "We are only on the main road."


There were no immediate reports of new clashes on the ground Saturday.


Fearing a spread of the fighting, the France-based relief group Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Border, said Saturday it was evacuating some staff from its hospital in the western town of Danane, about 20 miles from Ivory Coast's border with Liberia (news - web sites). The west saw some of the most brutal attacks of the war.


"We are very worried," the aid group's spokeswoman Vanessa van Schoor said. "We really hope that the hospital will not be attacked. We still have patients inside. The population of Danane has suffered a great deal already" in the war.


Van Schoor said the hospital would remain functioning. She declined to say how many staffers were being brought out or where they were being taken.


Ivory Coast's war killed thousands and uprooted more than 1 million, threatening efforts by neighboring countries â ” Sierra Leone and Liberia â ” to recover from their own vicious civil wars of the 1990s.


Last year's peace deals, brokered under international pressure, ended major fighting but an agreed-upon power-sharing government has never taken hold.


The U.N. Security Council â ” which has poured billions of dollars and thousands of peace troops into West and Central Africa to support peace accords â ” expressed alarm at the renewed fighting, as have France, the United States and others.


Nigerian President Olosegun Obasanjo, current president of the African Union, opened talks with regional leaders Saturday at his farm on the outskirts of Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, to look for a way out of the crisis.

 



Senior African Union officials were among those attending. Remi Oyo, Obasanjo's spokeswoman, declined to say if Ivory Coast government or rebel representatives would take part.

___

Associated Press writers Parfait Kouassi in Abidjan and Daniel Balint-Kurti in Abuja, Nigeria, contributed to this report.


 

bossi

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Thank goodness the French had something capable of shooting down an aircraft ... hmmm ...
 

canuck101

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Yeah the airport that the planes came from was in the area that the french controlled so they just went to the airport and took care of business. 8)
 

wang

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the foreign legion has just sent 2 more companies from the 2 REP, these guys mean serious business.
 

Sheerin

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What assets do the French have in the Ivory Coast, and surrounding area?

 

enfield

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12 x Sea Cans of Cheese
10 x Pallets of Wine

2 White flags per soldier
1 x Ivorian uniform per man for when they change sides after the surrender
I hear they've already begun their super base, in a deep valley, inaccessible from the outside, and overlooked by high hills.
8)

Ok, seriously, I'm also curious, what do they have in the area? I haven't seen any references to units in any news reports.
 

bitterbones

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12 x Sea Cans of Cheese
10 x Pallets of Wine

2 White flags per soldier
1 x Ivorian uniform per man for when they change sides after the surrender
I hear they've already begun their super base, in a deep valley, inaccessible from the outside, and overlooked by high hills.

tell you what, when you get the guts to make that joke to a member of the french crew that is over there, legionnaires or not then feel free to say it on this site, but until then stuff it. im sure that man for man the crew over there is 100 times better than anything we could muster....if we could afford to....or had the man power......or had politicians with guts......etc
 

HollywoodHitman

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I'm more than a little sure that he was just poking some good clean fun at the French. Who doesn't? They're not known for winning alot of wars recently........

They're tough troops sure. Do you think they don't poke fun at us? Soldiers do that.
 

pbi

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The French make fun of everyone, due to their position as The Superior Culture. Of course this offends everybody, so the French end up getting ragged by everybody else. Fair is Fair. Since I have been here with Eurocorps and Friends (ISAF VI) I have seen some excellent French and some....well.....stereotypical ones. Cheers.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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Quote from Bitterbones,
im sure that man for man the crew over there is 100 times better than anything we could muster...

I'm guessing you are using your own ability's to judge this ? ::)

Enfield....you forgot one thing...the reading material. :D
http://army.ca/cgi-bin/album.pl?photo=Humour/pod.jpg
 

bossi

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Not too much detailed information regarding French orbat (except comments by reporters about "tanks" ...chuckle), but it sounds like an interesting time ...
(also "interesting" - our contribution is ... chartered/non-military aircraft ...)

Foreigners flee chaotic Ivory Coast
Canada amongst nations sending planes to evacuate its citizens

Nov. 10, 2004. 12:09 PM
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Co...968705899037&DPL=IvsNDS/7ChAX&tacodalogin=yes

RELATED LINKS    

> French tanks in showdown (Nov. 8)    

> France flexes its muscles (Nov. 8)    

> French hit in Ivory Coast (Nov. 7)    

> Backgrounder: Ivory Coast conflict    

> africadaily.com    

> Ivory Coast Maps    


PAULINE BAX
ASSOCIATED PRESS

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - Two planes chartered by Canada were on standby today to evacuate citizens who have been trapped, along with thousands of French and other foreigners, for days by violent attacks targeting French civilians and troops in this West African nation.
The first flight of what were expected to be days of shuttles carrying foreigners to Europe and to neighbouring African countries pulled off the tarmac at mid-afternoon today, an Air France Boeing 777 carrying 240 evacuees to Paris.

The two planes charted by Canada, which each hold 170 passengers, were scheduled to fly Canadians from Abidjan to Accra, Ghana, later in the day, Andrew Hannan of Foreign Affairs Canada said Wednesday from Ottawa.

There are about 700 Canadians registered in Ivory Coast, the department said Tuesday in a release.

As state television aired fiery calls to mobilize against the French, French troops combed Ivory Coast's largest city to rescue foreigners for evacuation, sending boats to pluck some French off the banks of Abidjan's lagoons.

â Å“The government is pushing to kill white people â ” not just the French, all white people,â ? said Marie Noel Mion, rescued by French troops in a wooden boat at daybreak Wednesday and waiting with hundreds of others at Abidjan's airport for the first flight out.

The U.S. Embassy and others sent convoys through the city, picking up Americans, Canadians, Spaniards and others for the airport.

Evacuees included some UN employees and others among 1,000 expatriates holed up at UN headquarters.

More than 1,600 other foreigners who have taken refuge in a French military base in Abidjan are to be flown out. They included 985 French and citizens of 42 other countries, the French said.

In Paris, France's cabinet approved a decree requisitioning commercial aircraft to carry out French citizens in what was shaping up as one of the largest evacuations from Africa since the independence era.

France alone expected to fly out between 4,000 to 8,000 of its citizens from across Ivory Coast, a French official said â ” potentially the majority of the 14,000 French still in the former French colony.

â Å“It is on a voluntary basis. We are not going to evacuate all our French citizens because they are too many,â ? the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Violence erupted in Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer and regional economic powerhouse, on Saturday after government warplanes killed nine French peacekeepers and an American aid worker in an air strike on the rebel-held north.

France wiped out the nation's newly built-up air force on the tarmac in retaliation, sparking a violent uprising against the French, including looting, burning and attacks by loyalist youths. The turmoil has claimed at least 27 lives and wounded more than 900.

Ivory Coast has been divided between rebel north and loyalist south since civil war broke out in September 2002. France and the United Nations have more than 10,000 peacekeepers in the country, trying to maintain a 2003 ceasefire broken Thursday by the government air strikes on rebel territory.

President Laurent Gbagbo's government, blamed by the French for the air strike, has failed to rein in the thousands-strong crowds of loyalists, prompting a demand from French President Jacques Chirac for more action.

â Å“The Ivorian authorities should assume their responsibilities regarding public order,â ? Chirac said in Paris.

Evacuations began Wednesday with state television airing what the United Nations has described as hate messages.

State media showed the bodies, one with its head blown off, of some of the seven people reported killed in a clash at a French evacuation centre on Tuesday.

France says the seven were killed when demonstrators opened fire on the French and Ivory Coast security forces returned fire; demonstrators claim it was French troops who opened fire.

â Å“The French are assassinating our children,â ? one man cried today on state TV. â Å“Let us all mobilize.â ?

â Å“All those who saw the pictures of our compatriots killed yesterday ... please go back and continue the resistance,â ? another urged.

Aid workers, businesspeople and long-time residents of the former French colony huddled at UN agencies on Wednesday, many of them rescued from their homes by French troops amid looting and burning.

â Å“The people here have lost everything â ” their houses, the companies, everything,â ? one of them, a Belgian businessman, told the AP.

Hundreds of expatriates were camped at Abidjan's airport, some in tents set up in the floor of the terminal.

UN convoys shuttled foreigners to the airports, passing through ``very virulentâ ? crowds of loyalist youths and passing burned vehicles and roadblocks of burned tires, UN spokesman Philippe Moreux said.

â Å“It's a very hostile crowd,â ? Moreux said. â Å“They're chanting slogans and insults, things like, `All the whites out,' 'Everybody catch a white.'â ?

Heavily armed French forces with three armoured vehicles manned a roadblock on the way to Ivory Coast's international airport, taken by the French military on Saturday.

The airport was reopening today for what were expected to be days of evacuation flights.

Three Boeings with space for 250 people each would run shuttles to Paris and to Dakar, Senegal, French officials said.

At least three other countries, Spain, Belgium and Italy, were sending military planes to be on standby in the region if needed to evacuate their nationals.

As the evacuations began, South African President Thabo Mbeki invited representatives of Ivory Coast's warring sides to peace talks there meant to end the violence.

No date has been set, but the meeting is expected â Å“soon,â ? spokesman Bheki Khumalo said.

Mbeki was sent to Ivory Coast, which gained independence in 1960, on Tuesday by the 54-nation African Union.
 

HollywoodHitman

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Nice to see that a contingent of Canadian Soldiers were rapidly deployed to assist in protecting Canadian citizens abroad. Oops........That was a fantasy. Thank you France.
 

bossi

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HollywoodHitman said:
Nice to see that a contingent of Canadian Soldiers were rapidly deployed to assist in protecting Canadian citizens abroad. Oops........That was a fantasy. Thank you France.

... and Spain, Belgium and Italy ... and any other country that's protecting our ciitizens in Cote Ivoire, for that matter.

... At least three other countries, Spain, Belgium and Italy, were sending military planes to be on standby in the region if needed to evacuate their nationals.
 

HollywoodHitman

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Thank you for pointing out my ommissions. As much as I love our country, I'm ashamed that we're unable to provide that sort of protection to our citizens abroad. Isn't that one of the reasons we joined in the first place? :-[
 

bossi

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HollywoodHitman said:
... I'm ashamed that we're unable to provide that sort of protection to our citizens abroad. Isn't that one of the reasons we joined in the first place?

No need to be ashamed - it's not our fault that our Air Force doesn't have enough aircraft, or that our Army is too small, or that our Navy is smaller than Peru's (if I remember correctly).

Decisions have been made in "backrooms" by political advisers who are NOT accountable to the Canadian people.
Sure, we vote for politicians - however, their party policy is mapped out by non-elected, non-government staff.
And, it's not true that "public opinion determines poll results" - public opinion is manipulated to suit party politics.
 

enfield

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Truly embarassing.... so much for Canada's non-combatant evacuation capability. So yes, thank-you France. How come no one is calling the Government on this? The complete inability to protect Canadians abroad seems like a pretty big breach of the supposed aims of the military. What else are we using all those Airbuses for?

Regarding France... Given their stunningly bad performance in WW2 (not only did they lose in record time, they changed sides!), an often mediocre performance in WW1 (fought so badly most of the army mutinied), a brutally badly run war in Indochina (a lesson on how not to fight), and a general historical incapacity to win a war (when did they win an overall war last? I think they stopped the Arabs in the 8th Century). I honestly believe a good anthropology/sociology thesis would be "Why can't France win? - a study of Defeat and French Culture".

They do have excellent units, as they've proved over and over again. But somewhere, somehow, something goes wrong. But, of far greater worry and importance is why WE have to rent bloody planes to save our own people, from an airport already secured. France is way ahead of the game compared to us....
 

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For a fairly detailed report and photographs of the French military action in the Ivory Coast, go
to the current issue of "Paris Match". Their cover story shows the coffins of the young French
soldiers killed in the bombing of their quarters, plus photographs of the Ivory Coast military
aircraft which were destroyed, (looks to me that they were attacked by a highly mobile infantry
unit) which blew the nose sections off the aircraft. French forces also destroyed the Ivory Coast
military and commercial helicopters plus the Presidential jet. The French military are one of the
best equipped in the world, and highly motivated, but have a major problem with the politics
of the Chrirac regime - something like another country I could think of. MacLeod
 

Britney Spears

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According to French sources, the events of november 6th unfolded something like this:

1300: Clearly marked French facilities are attacked by Su-25 aicraft, 8 French troops and 1 American killed.

1420: the Su-25's returning to base, are immedietly destroyed by Milan ATGMs by French Marines. By 1600, the entire Ivorian air force is destroyed, mostly on the ground by the marines.

By 2400 French troops have also repelled, without casualties,  large scale ground attacks(involving thousands of militiamen, according to the same sources), presumably also "accidental".  against the international airport and to the French base of the 43e BIMa (bataillon d'infanterie de marine), coordinating support from helicopter gunships.

That's some pretty darn good shooting, and fast too, if you ask me.
 
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