Ivory Coast leader urges neighbours to boost border security
6/15/2012 8:10:42 PM -
CONAKRY (AFP) - Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara on Friday urged neighbouring states Guinea and Liberia, as well as nearby Sierra Leone, to work together to boost border security after a string of attacks in his country.
"Reinforced cooperation between our countries is more important than ever, and we should expand this to all the members of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States," Ouattara said.
He was speaking in the Guinean capital Conakry at a meeting of the four-nation Mano River Union attended by his Guinean, Liberian and Sierra Leonean counterparts Alpha Conde, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ernest Koroma.
"Ivory Coast has many border countries, and unfortunately the situation is not treated equally in each country," he said.
The meeting comes after recent deadly attacks in Ivory Coast which have left 22 people dead including seven peacekeepers from Niger. Ivory Coast said the attacks came from Liberia.
The attacks are being blamed on diehard supporters of Ivory Coast's ex-president Laurent Gbagbo, who is currently detained by the International Criminal Court to face charges of human rights violations.
Gbagbo's refusal to accept his election loss to Ouattara in 2010 led to a four-month conflict in which some 3,000 people were killed.
Since then, Liberia has seized several weapons caches along its borders and has arrested Liberian mercenaries who were widely implicated in rapes and massacres in Ivory Coast.
Sirleaf called for "firm measures to deal definitively with this problem and avoid a reproduction of the instability we have all seen in recent years."