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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 15:52 GMT
Ivorian militants under sanctions
Charles Ble Goude
Mr Ble Goude and his Young Patriots group want foreign troops to leave
The UN Security Council has adopted sanctions against three Ivory Coast militia leaders, despite fears of renewed attacks on peacekeepers.

Two leaders of youth groups loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo and a rebel leader are subject to a travel ban and a freeze on foreign assets.

The sanctions will not take effect until Security Council members are formally notified.

The youth leaders are accused of leading attacks on the UN last month.

Gbagbo loyalists Charles Ble Goude and Eugene Djue have dismissed the sanctions, saying they have no foreign assets and do not travel much.

These sanctions don't intimidate me at all or lessen my fervour for protests
Charles Ble Goude
Gbagbo loyalist
Ahead of the sanctions, some 400 civilian UN staff were withdrawn from Ivory Coast.

A northern rebel commander, Fofie Kouakou, is also targeted, accused of human rights abuses.

Some 7,000 UN peacekeepers are in Ivory Coast to oversee the peace process.

Elections are due this year to reunify Ivory Coast, which has been divided since rebels seized the north in 2002.

Rebel protest

"These sanctions don't intimidate me at all or lessen my fervour for protests," Mr Ble Goude told Reuters news agency.

Last week, Mr Ble Goude threatened more street protests unless the rebels were ordered to disarm.

IVORY COAST CONFLICT
Sept 2002: Dissident soldiers fail to overthrow President Gbagbo, but rebels seize north of country
May 2003: Armed forces sign ceasefire with rebel groups
Nov 2004: Ivorian air force attacks rebels; French forces destroy parts of Ivorian air force after nine of their soldiers killed. Violent anti-French protests prompt thousands of Westerners to leave
Oct 2005:UN extends President Gbagbo's mandate for 12 months and postpones elections

Reuters also reports there was a small demonstration outside a UN base in the rebel headquarters of Bouake because of the possibility of sanctions against Mr Kouakou.

Many Gbagbo supporters are upset at what they see as foreign interference in their internal affairs by the UN and former colonial power France.

They want the UN troops and a further 4,000 French soldiers to leave Ivory Coast.

Some 2,000 members of Mr Ble Goude's Young Patriots group blockaded the UN base in the main city, Abidjan, and others cities in the loyalist south for several days last month - until he told them to return home.

UN bases became the target of anger after foreign mediators seeking an end to the civil war recommended suspending parliament.

The call to dissolve parliament was seen as a way of preventing pro-Gbagbo MPs from holding up the peace process and boosting the authority of transitional Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny.


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