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07.10.2002 General News

Ghana announces evacuation of nationals

Ghana announces evacuation of nationals
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...from Ivory Coast Ghana announced plans Monday to evacuate its nationals from neighboring Ivory Coast, after the government there backed out of a promised cease-fire with rebels and fighting erupted anew. Foreign Minister Hackman Owusu Agyemang said Ghana would use planes and buses to bring people home. More than 2,000 Ghanaians live in Ivory Coast, most working in fishing, tourism, and other sectors. "As soon as we are ready we are going to take off," the minister said. "It could be tomorrow or the day after tomorrow." The cease-fire hammered out by West African peace envoys was to have been signed by rebels and the government last week. But on Sunday, Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo demanded that the rebels disarm first and his government announced an all-out offensive to retake cities in the insurgents' hands. "President Gbagbos change of mind is very disappointing and worrying," Owusu Agyemang said. He said peace mediators would not give up and that African leaders are consulting among themselves about what to do next. The rebels, who include a core group of 750-800 disgruntled former soldiers, seized Ivory Coast's northern half after a failed coup Sept. 19.

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