Several dozen foreign women were raped in the Ivory Coast over the past week as a result of recent anti-French riots. According to Agence France-Presse, the top French solider stationed in the Ivory Coast has confirmed the rapes. France’s Foreign Minister, Michel Barnier, said French authorities would prosecute anyone found guilty of rape, reports the Boston Globe.
France contributes forty percent of the 10,000 peacekeepers in France’s former colony. According to Bloomberg, the Ivory Coast is divided between a government-controlled south and a rebel-held north. The rebels seized the north in 2002 after failing to topple President Luarent Gbagbo. There was an 18-month cease-fire that was shattered after a bombing that took place in the north last week that killed nine peacekeepers, reports Reuters.
More than 5,000 foreigners have been flown out of Abidjan, Ivory Coast to France or neighboring African countries, approximately 10,000 Ivorians have fled to Liberia, and about 200 United Nations staff have left as African leaders seek a solution to the crisis, reports the The Associated Press.