(AFP) – Oct 15, 2012
ABIDJAN — Gunmen attacked a power plant overnight in Ivory Coast's economic capital Abidjan Monday, while police came under attack at Bonoua, further east, Defence Minister Paul Koffi Koffi said.
"Armed men in military uniform were reported at the Azito power station at around 3:00 am (0300 GMT) and tried to take control of the site," he told AFP.
Later Monday on television, he said that "nine people have been arrested."
Marc Clissen, the director of the Azito plant, said it had major damage from a grenade attack and the power supply has been cut by half.
The power plant is located in the Yopougon district of western Abidjan and feeds electricity to much of the city. One turbine was out of service.
"Azito has two gas turbines which normally provide 200 megawatts of electricity to Abidjan. Today the capacity has be cut in half," Clissen said.
The defence minister, however, assured that there was "no serious consequences for electricity in Ivory Coast" and that military reinforcements would be sent into the area and security would be beefed up at "strategic sites".
Earlier in the night, police and paramilitary police were attacked at Bonoua, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of Abidjan, the minister said.
"That began at about 11:00 pm. We heard heavy weapons fire and Kalashnikovs," a local resident said.
Koffi Koffi said two of the attackers were killed, while a source on the general staff of the Republican Forces (Ivory Coast's army), who asked not to be named, said four members of the forces were wounded.
"During the night, there was a holdup at the police post. The robbers then headed for the gendarmerie (paramilitary police base). They came under fire and fled towards the village of Samo," the defence minister said.
A series of bloody attacks was carried out in August against security forces, heightening tensions after the end of a post-electoral crisis in 2010-2011, which claimed around 3,000 lives.
The most recent attacks date from September 20-21, mainly around an Ivorian outpost on the border with Ghana.
The government of President Alassane Ouattara has blamed these attacks on supporters of toppled president Laurent Gbagbo, who deny resorting to violence.
Gbagbo himself is being held in The Hague, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court.
Copyright © 2014 AFP. All rights reserved. More »