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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 November, 2004, 14:32 GMT
Britons flown out of Ivory Coast
Briton leaves Ivory Coast
Soldier escorts British woman at Abidjan airport
About 220 Britons and people from other countries have been flown out of the troubled West African state of Ivory Coast on British rescue flights.

Two RAF Hercules planes and 400 personnel flew the people to safety in neighbouring Ghana on Friday and Saturday, the Ministry of Defence said.

The MoD said the rescue operation was now complete.

The effort follows the resumption of Ivory Coast's civil war, which has also seen violent anti-European protests.

If you decide to remain, there will be no-one from the British Government to assist you should the situation deteriorate
UK Foreign Office

The UK defence personnel had not been involved in any fighting, the MoD spokesman said.

The UK embassy, whose staff also left, remained closed until further notice.

UK nationals had gathered at assembly points including the British Ambassador's residence in the main city, Abidjan.

Britons outside Abidjan were told to head to the international school or the airport in the capital, Yamoussoukro.

The non-British people were removed at the requests of their governments.

The evacuees were told by the Foreign Office to take enough food and water to last 48 hours and one piece of 20kg baggage.

Map of Ivory Coast
France earlier began evacuating its citizens after days of anti-French demonstrations.

Trouble flared after nine French peacekeepers were killed and President Jacques Chirac ordered the destruction of Ivory Coast's air force.

The ensuing violence has left at least 17 people dead and more than 1,000 wounded.

You could see it was a matter of time before it all went wrong
Konate, London

A statement on the FO website warns: "The political and security situation remains volatile.

"If you decide to remain, there will be no-one from the British Government to assist you should the situation deteriorate again."

A regiment of Gurkhas is in Ghana's capital Accra and are on "immediate notice" to move into Ivory Coast to help evacuate Britons should it become necessary.

As an additional contingency the Royal Navy assault ship HMS Albion has been redirected towards Ivory Coast.

Scenes of the British exodus


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