Gunmen have attacked security posts and freed more than 100 prisoners in a town west of Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan during an overnight raid that ended, officials and local residents said.
At least five people were killed in the clashes that ended on Thursday morning, including two of the gunmen and three civilians, an army commander told the Reuters news agency.
“The [army] camp in the town of Dabou was attacked by assailants during the night … The town is under control and we are conducting clean-up operations”
– Paul Koffi Koffi, Defence minister
He declined to say whether any soldiers or other security personnel were killed.
Ivory Coast continues to struggle nearly daily raids against army and police installations that began almost two weeks ago and have revived fears of renewed instability a year after civil war killed 3,000 people.
Ten soldiers have been killed so far and several others wounded in the violence, which the Ivorian government has blamed on supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, Ivory Coast’s former president.
Gunfire erupted in Dabou, around 50km west of Abidjan, at around 11pm local time on Wednesday, and local residents
said they heard loud explosions in several parts of town throughout the night.
“The [army] camp in the town of Dabou was attacked by assailants during the night. They were driven out in the early
morning … The town is under control and we are conducting clean-up operations,” Defence Minister Paul Koffi Koffi said.
“It’s the same scenario we’ve seen elsewhere. They come in little groups and attack,” he told Reuters.
Residents of Dabou said a gendarme post and prison were also targeted in the attack.
“It was an attack in several parts of town. Around 3am local time the power was cut and the fighting intensified,” Achille Odjo told Reuters by telephone from Dabou early on Thursday.
“They attacked the army camp, the gendarmerie and the prison. They broke in and freed the prisoners there,” he said.
All but one of the 119 people jailed in the prison remained on the loose, according to the army commander in Dabou, Ousmane Coulibaly. Read more…