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Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 21:36 GMT
Ivorian ministers quit over crisis
Woman in Abidjan
Immigrants have been fleeing the country
The main opposition party in Ivory Coast has pulled all its ministers out of the coalition government in protest at what it calls the "disastrous" handling of a violent uprising in the country.

Gone from government
Transport - Marcel Amon Tanoh
Tertiary education - Zemogo Fofana
Foreign trade - Amadou Soumahoro
Research and new technology - Roger Gnohite
Three remaining ministers from the Rally of Republicans (RDR) party resigned on Tuesday, a day after another opposition colleague announced he was leaving the government of the crisis-hit nation.

The government accuses RDR leader Alassane Ouattara of organising and financing the two-month rebellion while the opposition denies that and blames the ruling party for failing to solve the crisis.

Separately, an Ivorian human rights group says it has evidence that death squads have been working on the streets of the main city of Abidjan, killing dozens of people opposed to the government.

Deep divides

Ivory Coast remains divided, with anti-government rebels in control of much of the north of the county. French troops have helped to impose a ceasefire, but peace talks in Togo have made little progress.

The rebellion began among troops who were unhappy at losing their jobs and though it was soon quashed in the mainly Christian south, there has been strong support in the north where Muslims are in a majority.

Opposition leader Mr Ouattara said the ministers were withdrawn from government "because of power getting out hand and the disastrous management of the crisis our country has been going through".

They had been appointed in August by President Laurent Gbagbo as he tried to form a government with broader support.

'Death squads'

The RDR accused the government of being behind "numerous human rights violations, including summary killings".

The Ivorian Movement for Human Rights said it had now found more than 50 bodies of victims apparently killed by death squads in Abidjan.

Alassane Ouattara
Opposition leader Alassane Ouattara is under French protection
It says many more people have vanished since the uprising began in September - most of them northerners, foreigners or opposition supporters.

One victim was found with his hands tied behind his back and a bullet wound between his shoulders, the group said.

The BBC's West Africa correspondent Paul Welsh says the campaigners describe the death squads as uniformed men who call at homes during the curfew hours.

While the rebels accuse the security forces of being behind the killings, our correspondent says the government rejects that and claims the killers may even be rebels trying to discredit the government.


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21 Nov 02 | Africa
18 Nov 02 | Africa
06 Aug 02 | Africa
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