Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Cote d'Ivoire: youth group to march on rebel territory tomorrow

Eugene Djue, one of the leaders of the so-called Young Patriots group, said more than 100,000 followers would march on the towns starting Wednesday. He told French forces guarding the demilitarized "confidence zone" between the government forces and the former rebels, now known as "the New Forces," not to intervene.

.... About 200 Young Patriots and elements of the Ivorian army, apparently acting on their own, tried November 30 to cross into northern territory controlled by former rebels.

French and west African peacekeepers patrolling the confidence zone fired warning shots and used tear gas to drive them back. (link)
As for why Djue is doing this ...
... [He said his] men had to march on the north because the rebels hadn't disarmed by Dec. 15. Djue and other pro-Gbagbo youth leaders vowed earlier this month to march on Bouake if the rebels hadn't disarmed by Dec. 15.

The rebels and the government army started Dec. 13 withdrawing heavy arms from the former front line and storing light arms. Both sides said Monday that the moves were preliminary to the "real" disarmament, which would start as soon as funds were available for demobilization and disarmament.

Djue said these preliminary moves were insufficient. "We don't want war, but we are ready for war," Djue said, adding that he had 108,500 men ready "on all fronts" and 30,000 special commandos for what he called "the surveillance of Abidjan." (link)