ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Oct. 19—French forces monitoring Ivory Coast’s cease-fire, which halted four weeks of fighting between government and rebel forces, vowed today to retaliate if attacked.
With the truce in its second day, French forces said that by Sunday they hoped to have rules agreed to by both sides for observing the cease-fire.
French troops will deploy patrols, establish observation posts and, in some areas, checkpoints, as well as agreed contact points between government and rebel forces, said Col. Christian Baptiste, a French military spokesman in Paris. French troops also plan to tell both sides which activities they would consider hostile.
If the situation starts to worsen. . .and our forces face
aggression, we will strike back strongly—indeed, very
strongly, he said in a telephone interview, saying the situation in
Ivory Coast remained
Baptiste said France has
considerably more than the 1,000 troops
it sent to its former colony to protect and evacuate foreign nationals
and provide logistical support to government forces.
Under the cease-fire accord, the rebels and government troops are to stay in position—ready to fight should negotiations fail. French forces said they were unaware of any fighting since the cease-fire took effect Thursday.
Senegalese Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, one of the West
African mediators who helped broker the truce agreement, described the
In the rebel-held central city of Bouake, insurgents covered their
weapons with tarpaulins, showing
a very strong will to keep the
peace, he said. In Daloa, a western city rebels and government
forces battled over early this week, residents reported no fighting.
Ivorians, frightened and displaced by the conflict and the ethnic violence it unleashed, questioned whether peace could last. Hundreds died and tens of thousands fled their homes in the fighting that erupted Sept. 19 with a bloody coup attempt against President Laurent Gbagbo.