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Monday, 18 September, 2000, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Minister vows to hit rebels hard
Gen Guei inspects a military parade
Not all elements in the army are loyal
Ivory Coast Communication Minister Henri Cesar Sama gave details of the overnight attack on General Guei's residence in an address to the nation broadcast on state radio.

I would like to reassure Ivorians by telling them that at (0200 GMT) this morning, sporadic exchanges of gunfire started at the residence of the president of the republic.

Opposition rally in Ivory Coast
Opposition to Gen Guei has been vociferous
Luckily, loyal troops had the upper hand. We were confronted with a few isolated elements, who tried forcefully to take over the residence of the president of the republic.

They attempted to disarm the guards. The riposte was fatal; it was harsh; it was severe.

Vigilance

We appeal to all Ivorians to be vigilant. As we stated on a foreign radio, some Ivorians are developing a mentality of the besieged - the besieged tribe.

After very many rounds of discussions, after many attempts at dialogue, we are no longer prepared to leave Ivory Coast in the hands of adventurers, who are ready to divert it from the ambitions assigned to it by the founding father of Ivory Coast - that is, a mission of peace, a mission as a country in the service of Africa.


At stake is the sovereignty of Ivory Coast

Minister Sama

Because we are proud of this country, whose influence must prevail in the subregion as well as Africa at large so that the whole world can see that there is a great country in Africa...

Hit back hard

At stake is the sovereignty of Ivory Coast, which we do not want to see reduced to the status of a vassal state by countries that we have always felt obliged to assist...

Ivory Coast is a great country, and it must remain a great country at all times... a country proud of its inhabitants; a country with influence over the world, and over Africa in particular.

It is because we are committed to our sovereignty that we will not allow a few adventurers to sow disorder within our midst...


Gen Guei is in charge of this country

Minister Sama

We will hit hard because Ivory Coast must remain a dignified country, and we will be merciless with those who have committed reprehensible acts...

But we will also have to hit hard against the sponsors of these acts who are making pompous statements from their countries and who are happy to see trouble in Ivory Coast...

Elections

In conclusion, I would like to reassure Ivorians again that Gen Robert Guei is in charge of this country; that we will go to the polls whatever the cost may be, because we want to remain a democratic country; we want to remain a country committed to freedom.

We are waiting for them. We want them to come out in the open for us to engage in a loyal contest - in elections - should their candidacy be found valid, so that Ivory Coast can have a genuine president emerging from the polls.

The fight is far, the fight is long, the fight is democratic. Any other attempt is futile.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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18 Sep 00 | Africa
Oasis of calm no more
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