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Eight dead in Ivory Coast attack

Eight people were killed and ten homes burned in an attack on a village in Ivory Coast's restive south-west (© 2009 AFP)

Eight people were killed and ten homes burned in an attack on a village in Ivory Coast’s restive south-west bordering Liberia, a military source said Thursday.

The death toll was earlier been put at six and two people injured in the attack on Tuesday night in the village of Sakre.

Four attackers had been arrested. A military source earlier blamed the attack on sympathisers of ousted strongman Laurent Gbagbo, currently in custody at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity.

The source said the attackers were based in Liberia.

“This attack led to at least 250 people leaving Sakre and in all about 3,000 people have fled villages in the region,” Ken Blackman, spokesman for the UN mission in Ivory Coast told AFP.

Most had fled to the nearby town of Tai about 30 kilometres away, he said, adding that the UN had beefed up its presence in the area.

Madeleine Pagnon, a Tai resident and a leader of local women, said: “All the villages are currently empty. The villagers have been arriving since yesterday by bus and are in the town hall where an NGO has put up tents in the courtyard.

“They are facing problems of food and lodging,” she added.

Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power to Alassane Ouattara after 2010 polls sparked a bloodbath. According to the United Nations, some 3,000 people died in the violence — 1,000 of them in the west.

The region still faces security problems, and some 170,000 people remain displaced, the UN says.

Clashes have pitted pro-Gbagbo militias and mercenaries against the forces of President Ouattara who this week promised reconciliation and accountability during a visit to the region.

Signature : ABIDJAN (AFP)

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