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France Sends More Soldiers to Ivory Coast after Clash with Ivorian Troops - 2004-11-07


France has sent more soldiers to Ivory Coast following clashes between French peacekeepers and Ivorian government troops.

At least 150 reinforcements arrived in Abidjan Sunday, one day after Ivorian forces bombed a French military base in the rebel-controlled town of Bouake, killing nine French soldiers and an American. Ivorian officials said the attack was a mistake.

French airplanes responded by destroying Ivorian military planes and helicopters.

Witnesses say angry crowds of Ivorians have ransacked shops and attacked some foreigners in Abidjan and other towns since Saturday.

French military helicopters fired warning shots Saturday to disperse thousands of protesters marching toward Abidjan's main airport.

Fighting started last week when forces loyal to Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo attacked a rebel base in Bouake, shattering an 18-month truce.

About 4,000 French soldiers and 6,000 U.N. peacekeeping troops are in Ivory Coast to monitor a cease-fire between the government and the rebels.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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