ABIDJAN, 17 January (IRIN) - The
Ivorian national army and rebels of the Ivorian Popular Movement of the
Great West (MPIGO) clashed on Thursday morning in the western town of Blolequin,
military sources confirmed to IRIN on Friday.
The spokesman of the Forces Armees Nationales de Côte d'Ivoire, Lt-Col Jules Yao Yao told IRIN on Friday that the government had beaten back the attackers, adding that no government soldier was killed nor wounded. French Lt-Col Ange-Antoine Leccia, the spokesman of the French troops deployed in the country since October, described the incident as "small-scale acts, skirmishes. He told IRIN that his troops, who are in the country to monitor a ceasefire agreement signed with the principal rebel group, the Patriotic Movement of Côte d'Ivoire (MPCI). According to the defence ministry, the fighting was initiated by the MPIGO, lasted about 30 minutes. Moreover delegate defence minister Bertin Kadet said the fighting constituted a violation of the ceasefire agreement signed on Monday in Lome, Togo.
Currently attending the Ivorian round-table, MPIGO's leader, Felix Doh, accused the government troops of instigating the skirmish.
On Monday, the MPIGO and a western rebel group, the Justice and Peace Movement, signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in the Togolese capital, Lome. These two groups, who have operating out of western Côte d'Ivoire since late November, have clashed on several occasions with the national army and French troops stationed in the west.
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