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Monday, 18 November, 2002, 12:58 GMT
Burkina first lady robbed in Abidjan
Burkina Faso national arriving home after fleeing Ivory Coast
There are about five million foreigners in Ivory Coast
The Ivory Coast residence of Chantal Compaore, the first lady of Burkina Faso, has been looted.

Her mansion was raided over the weekend by uniformed men, the Burkina Faso ambassador in Abidjan told the French news agency, AFP.

Foreigners have often complained of attacks by government supporters since rebels seized control of half of the country two-months ago.

The government initially blamed the uprising on unnamed neighbours but has since urged Ivorians not to attacks foreigners.

Over the weekend, the first group of Malians evacuated from Ivory Coast arrived back home, saying that Ivorian soldiers had fired at their buses.

One third of Ivory Coast's 15m population is made up of people drawn from nearby countries to work in the region's strongest economy.

Curfew

Mrs Compaore lost "27 air conditioners among other things," from her house in Abidjan's Deux Plateaux suburb , ambassador Emile Ilboudo told AFP.

The robbers overpowered the guards some four hours after the start of the 1900 curfew, according to the 24 Heures newspaper.

Burkina Faso President Blaire Compaore
Mrs Compaore lost 27 air conditioners

Last week, the curfew was extended and civilians were banned from wearing military-style camouflage clothing after a spate of attacks on foreigners by men in uniform.

The brother of a man who defected from the ruling party to join the rebels was killed two weeks ago.

The rebels blamed the security forces but the government says that attacks are being carried out by people pretending to be soldiers or policemen.

The rebels control the largely Muslim north, while President Laurent Gbagbo enjoys most of his support in the Christian south and the conflict has worsened religious tensions.

Most West African immigrants are Muslims.

As well as Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria are also evacuating some of their nationals from Ivory Coast.


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