by Staff Writers
Monrovia (AFP) Jan 08, 2013
Liberia's Defense Minister Bernie Samukai said on Tuesday that its troops have begun to withdraw from the Ivory Coast border, where they were deployed starting last June after repeated raids.
Samukai, who did not specify the number of troops involved, said that the pullout began on Saturday and would be completed on January 13.
He added however that if need be, the troops were "prepared to redeploy back in those locations".
"In our view the border is safe and secure," he added.
Several Liberian army units were deployed to border posts between the two countries last year to counter armed gangs raiding the Ivorian side from Liberia.
The groups have targeted western Ivory Coast since the end of the country's 2010-2011 crisis, which left 3,000 dead in the wake of a disputed presidential election.
Abidjan has accused exiles loyal to former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo of being behind the raids, claims they deny.
In an ambush in southwest Ivory Coast in June, 18 people died, including seven United Nations peacekeepers from Niger.
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