Guinea + 1 more

Cote d'Ivoire-Guinea: Guinean forces kill Ivorian rebel in border clash

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

CONAKRY, 14 July (IRIN) - Guinean troops have shot dead at least one rebel fighter from Cote d'Ivoire in a border clash, the second such inicident to be reported this year, a military source said on Thursday.

The latest incident took place on Tuesday in the Guinean border village of Noumoundjila, which is connected by road to the town of Odienne in the rebel-controlled northwest of Cote d'Ivoire, the source said.

The Ivorian rebel was shot after he strayed over the border into Guinean territory, he added.

According to one report of the incident circulating in the Guinean capital Conakry, Guinean soldiers fired several warning shots before the man was killed and his body lay in the open for 24 hours before the Guinean authorities allowed village elders from the Ivorian side of the border to retrieve it.

This was the second border clash between Guinean forces and rebels occupying the north of Cote d'Ivoire to be reported this year.

In April, one Ivorian rebel was killed and 17 others were captured by Guinean forces following an earlier exchange of gunfire in the same area.

The New Forces rebel movement in Cote d'Ivoire said at the time that the incident involved "uncontrolled elements" who were probably deserters.

Guinean security officials said the Ivorian intruders in the April incident belonged to a dissident faction of the rebel movement loyal to Ibrahim Coulibaly, an exiled hero of the rebels, rather than the New Forces' official leader Guillaume Soro.

The Ivorian rebels have repeatedly accused Guinean President Lansana Conte of taking sides with Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo in the three-year conflict.

Last year they accused Gbagbo of planning to use Guinean territory as a launch pad to attack rebel positions in northwestern Cote d'Ivoire.

The Guinean government has not yet commented on the latest incident. It has always professed strict neutrality in the Ivorian civil war, which has forced up to 100,000 Guinean migrants to Cote d'Ivoire to return home.


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