Abidjan: Unidentified gunmen attacked a village in western Ivory Coast and set it ablaze, killing three people and prolonging a spate of recent violence that has displaced thousands, a U.N. Official said.
Sylvie van den Wildenberg, spokeswoman for the country`s U.N. Peacekeeping mission, said the dead were two civilians, three assailants and one member of the dozos, a group of traditional hunters that have assumed an unofficial security role in the west.
The attack targeted the village of Petit Guiglo, located 15 miles (25 kilometers) southwest of Blolequin. The attack yesterday is the third in less than two weeks in Ivory Coast`s western region, where some of the worst atrocities were committed during the country`s 2010-11 postelection conflict.
Ute Kollies, head of the U.N.`s humanitarian agency, said the fighting may have caused "significant human and material damage," but that a complete assessment was unavailable Saturday evening because of the remoteness of the attack`s location.
An internal security notice from the U.N. Peacekeeping mission said the attack began at 6 a.M. And ended around noon. Ivory Coast was rocked by five months of postelection violence after former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down despite losing the November 2010 presidential runoff to current President Alassane Ouattara.
Gbagbo, who ruled Ivory Coast for a decade, is awaiting trial on allegations of crimes against humanity at The Hague. After the conflict, many pro-Gbagbo fighters along with Liberian mercenaries who supported Gbagbo fled into neighboring Liberia, where they are believed to have launched cross-border attacks dating back at least to July 2011. An attack in June 2012 killed seven U.N. Peacekeepers and 10 civilians.
Armed men on March 13 attacked the town of Zilebly, located about 10 kilometers from the border with Liberia, killing two soldiers and five civilians, according to the U.N. Local officials said they believed the perpetrators had crossed the border from Liberia.
Early Thursday morning, attackers struck the village of Toubly, located 9 miles (15 kilometers) southwest of Toulepleu, an important town along the Ivory Coast-Liberia border.
Joseph Malanda, commander of the U.N. Police force in the west of the country, said there were no casualties in that attack, but that three assailants were arrested and weapons including AK-47s were recovered.