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  Thursday, May 19, 2022
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France evacuated hundreds more citizens fleeing violence in Ivory Coast
France evacuated hundreds more citizens fleeing violence in Ivory Coast on Thursday as opposition leaders from its former colony gathered in South Africa for talks aimed at rebuilding peace. African leaders are terrified another bout of full-scale war in a country bordering Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana could destabilize the whole West African region. Some 300 French nationals and other foreigners flew out after days of anti-French mob attacks in the world's top cocoa grower, which has been split between a government-run south and a rebel-held north since a failed coup in 2002. "We'll never look at this place the same way again. There will always be that scar," said Frenchman Stephane Mira, leaving the main city Abidjan with his wife and 13-year-old son. "What scares me the most is that a civil war like the one in Rwanda could explode," said Mira, a 40-year-old sales manager for the Goodyear tire company. Supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo began forcing out thousands of French citizens and other foreigners on Saturday, looting homes and burning businesses in the main city Abidjan, after Paris wiped out Ivory Coast-s air force, inform Reuters. According to CBC News, The Ivory Coast is on the brink of a full-scale war which could spill over to other countries, warned the South African government. "We need to contain it in the Ivory Coast and bring it under control," said South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. South African President Thabo Mbeki opened talks between Ivorian opposition and rebel leaders in Pretoria on Thursday. Mbeki had met earlier in the week with Ivorian President Laurent Gbago. Thousands of foreigners, including Canadians, are fleeing the country. A Canadian-chartered plane carrying 64 Canadians landed in Ghana Wednesday night. Foreign Affairs says there are 400 Canadian citizens registered in Ivory Coast along with 300 non-Canadian family members. The department had to cancel a second plane because of security concerns. The French government managed to airlift 800 of its citizens and other foreigners on two planes Thursday. United Nations officials say more than 1,600 people have taken refuge inside a French military camp. The violence began Saturday when nine French peacekeepers and an American aid worker were killed in an air strike by government warplanes
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