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 Monday, 20 January, 2003, 17:11 GMT
Ivorian conflict spills over into Liberia
Protesters in Abidjan on Saturday
Many government supporters will not compromise
Gunmen have seized a Liberian border town in an attack launched from Ivory Coast, according to Liberian sources.

The capture of the town of Beam is a "blatant violation" of Liberia's territorial integrity, President Charles Taylor's private radio station said on Monday.

"The government will take the appropriate measures to expel the terrorists," Kiss-FM radio station said.

IVORY COAST CONFLICT
Hundreds killed
More than a million displaced
Rebels want Gbagbo to step down
They also want fresh elections
Gbagbo wants the rebels to disband

The alleged cross-border attack in Liberia's southeast border county of Grand Gedeh heightens concerns that the four-month-old conflict in Ivory Coast is inflaming tensions in the West African region.

Fighting killed one person and injured several others, the radio said.

It is unclear who is responsible for the attack.

Liberian rebels have been battling the government for some time, but in recent weeks have also become embroiled in the insurgency against the Ivorian Government from bases in western Ivory Coast.

Many Liberians have been fleeing the fighting in Ivory Coast and seeking to return home.

The Ivorian rebels want President Laurent Gbagbo to step down and are demanding fresh elections, blaming him for a surge of ethnic tensions and bloodshed.

Ivorian talks

At present, peace talks between representatives of the Ivory Coast Government and rebels are taking place in Paris.

Talks in Paris
There are signs of hope for the Paris talks
French mediators say there has been progress, with unconfirmed reports that a deal may be emerging on a thorny issue at the heart of the talks - rebel objections to controversial nationality laws.

Meanwhile West African peacekeepers have begun arriving in the Ivory Coast over the weekend.

The 2,500-strong West African peacekeeping force, being led by Senegal, will eventually replace French troops monitoring the ceasefire between Ivorian government troops and the main rebel faction.

Also at the weekend, there were demonstrations in support of both sides.

In Abidjan, up to 30,000 government supporters marched to show their backing for the president.

A pro-rebel march in the northern city of Bouake reinforced the call for early elections.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Paul Welsh
"There's no movement by either side on the question of early elections"

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08 Jan 03 | Africa
05 Jan 03 | Africa
10 Jan 03 | Africa
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