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24 September 2002

U.S. Troops to Ensure Safety of Americans in Cote d'Ivoire

(Boucher says forces being sent to monitor situation of unrest) (220)
Washington -- Approximately 200 U.S. Army troops are deploying to the
west African nation of Cote d'Ivoire to monitor the ongoing situation
of unrest and ensure the safety of American citizens, spokesmen at the
State and Defense Departments said September 24.
"We remain gravely concerned about fighting in Bouake, near the
International Christian Academy," State Department spokesman Richard
Boucher said. There are approximately 200 children, including more
than 100 Americans, at the religious school, located near where
fighting has been going on since a failed coup last week. Bouake is
the country's second largest city.
Boucher said during a regular State Department briefing that "we asked
the [U.S.] European Command ... to move some troops into the area to
be available to provide for the safety of American citizens, should
that prove necessary."
Defense Department spokesman Navy Lieutenant Commander Don Swell said
the troops are deploying from Germany, but will meet with some U.S.
troops already in the area. Once there, the troops will monitor the
situation and will be available to assist in ensuring the safety of
American citizens, Swell said.
"There's fighting going on now in the area near where this school is
located," Boucher said. "That's what our concern is, that's what their
concern is for the people there."
Boucher said that at this point there have been no plans to evacuate
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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