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Liberian president in Ivory Coast to discuss border security
by Staff Writers
Abidjan (AFP) Oct 18, 2012

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf arrived Thursday in Ivory Coast to discuss security on the countries' border, which has been violated in recent months by armed gangs raiding the Ivorian side from Liberia.

Sirleaf met her Ivorian counterpart Alassane Ouattara at the presidential palace after her late-morning arrival.

Since the end of the 2010-2011 crisis in Ivory Coast, which left 3,000 dead in the wake of a disputed presidential election, western Ivory Coast has been targeted by armed groups based in eastern Liberia.

Ouattara's government says the groups are made up of exiled backers of former president Laurent Gbagbo, Ouattara's rival in the 2010 election. Gbagbo's party denies any link to the attacks.

The Liberian government said Thursday it had arrested the mastermind of one attack, a Liberian national named Bobby Shappy Julu. He is accused of orchestrating an ambush in southwest Ivory Coast on June 18 in which 18 people died, including seven United Nations peacekeepers from Niger.

On July 17 Liberia announced the arrest of three people linked to the attacks. Two others gave themselves up and another was arrested in September.

Last month the United Nations Security Council called on Liberia and Ivory Coast to work more closely together in monitoring their joint frontier.

A recent report by UN experts backed up charges by Ivory Coast that attacks on its security forces, particularly in Abidjan, were the work of pro-Gbagbo exiles in Ghana, working with armed militants based in Liberia.


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