by Staff Writers
Abidjan (AFP) Feb 20, 2013
Ivory Coast will seek to peacefully resolve a border dispute with Guinea that has seen an Ivorian village occupied by Guinean soldiers since late January, a government statement said Wednesday.
"Ivory Coast and Guinea, determined to choose a peaceful resolution to this dispute, have decided" to call on both populations to calm down, said the statement by the council of ministers.
Armed soldiers took over the village of Kpeaba, which lies close to the town of Sipilou, around 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Ivory Coast's border with Guinea, deposing the village chief and flying the Guinean flag in a decades-old dispute.
The statement from the Ivorian government called for "the withdrawal of troops from the village", an "emergency meeting between Ivorian and Guinean representatives" and for "work on the border markings to resume".
The government called for calm and pacification and asked local people to "abstain from any action likely to affect" peace.
Authorities said Guinean soldiers had taken control on January 25, provoking "incidents" between the two sides.
The dispute between the two former French colonies dates back to the days of independence.
Guinea gained independence from France in 1958 and Ivory Coast followed suit in 1960.
The western region of Ivory Coast is the most unstable in the country.
Two dead in ICoast clashes between army, locals
Locals clashed with troops from the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI) on Sunday and Monday "causing the death of two people and injuring three" in the village of Affery, said a statement from the council of ministers.
Affery is near the town of Akoupe, around 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the economic capital Abidjan.
Local media reported that the two people killed were civilians.
Police would be sent to replace troops in the area, the government said, adding that the situation was now calm.
Tensions have regularly flared in Affery and in regions home to supporters of ex-president Laurent Gbagbo, currently held in The Hague where he faces charges of war crimes.
A source who wished to remain anonymous said that locals in Affery were regularly forced to hand over money and goods to soldiers despite a government crackdown on corruption.
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