Rebels in Ivory Coast beat off army assault

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The Independent Online

Rebel troops holding Ivory Coast's second city, where dozens of American children and other foreigners are trapped, claimed to have beaten off a government attack yesterday.

Rebel troops holding Ivory Coast's second city, where dozens of American children and other foreigners are trapped, claimed to have beaten off a government attack yesterday.

The rebels said they had repelled an assault on Bouaké by troops sent to crush an uprising that has killed 270 people and injured 300, plunging the west African country into its worst crisis since independence from France in 1960. French troops were said to be preparing for a mission to rescue foreign nationals.

The rebels – including 700 ex-soldiers angry over their expulsion from the army for suspected disloyalty – remained in control of Bouaké and the opposition stronghold of Korhogo last night.

Among the half million residents of predominantly Muslim Bouaké are dozens of children of American missionaries, some of whom attend a school that was caught in crossfire on Sunday. The Foreign Office said no British citizens were trapped in the International Christian Academy, where a resident British family is monitoring events. A spokeswoman said there were 430 Britons in the country, but no problems had been reported.

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