INTRODUCTION: Morocco and the Ivory Coast have denied any part in the last January's armed attack on Benin, when a group of about 100 men raided the country's main city.
SV: United Nation Security Council meeting in progress.
SV: Moroccan delegate Ali Bengelloun addressing Council (in French).
SVs: Ivory Coast representative Simeon Ake addressing Council (in French). (3 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Morocco and the Ivory Coast have denied any part in the last January's armed attack on Benin, when a group of about 100 men raided the country's main city. The denials were put before the United Nations Security Council on Thursday (7 April) during the debate on Benin's official complaint. The Council has already accepted that foreign mercenaries were involved in the raid, and has been trying to establish where they came from.
SYNOPSIS: A three-man U.N. inquiry mission recently investigated the incident, when both white and black troops landed in Cotonou in an unmarked four-engined aircraft and took off again after a three-hour gun battle. Benin has charged that 'reactionary and neo-colonialist' circles in France were responsible and also implicated other countries, including Morocco and the Ivory Coast. The Moroccan delegate, Ali Bengelloun, denied his country's involvement.
M. Bengelloun said Morocco would never intervene in the internal affairs of others, and was opposed to all acts of subversion. He also regretted that the mission's report contained allegations, without any proof. The mission had said that, on the basis of captured documents and the testimony of a black African prisoner, the attackers were recruited in Europe and Africa, trained in Morocco and launched their raid from Gabon. It also said it didn't have the time or the mandate to verify the evidence.
The U.N. group, consisting of representatives from Panama, Libya and India, did not name any government as being implicated in the attack, but it said it was aimed at toppling the Benin government of President Mathieu Kereko.
The Ivory Coast delegate, Simeon Ake, said his country was angry at the implications. He said the Ivory Coast had always maintained friendly and co-operative relations with Benin. M. Ake said the Ivory Coast worked hard for peace at home and abroad, and made a point of not interfering with the internal affairs of other countries. He claimed the accusations were even more ridiculous because a number of people from Benin were now living in the Ivory Coast.
France has also denied any involvement. The French delegation said it reacted with surprise when it heard the allegations, which claimed the operation was led by a French colonel named Gilbert Bourgeaud. The French delegation said investigations showed there was no such officer in the French Army, either on active service, in the reserves, or serving under special arrangements.
Six Benin citizens died and at least two of the attackers were killed. Benin claims that the attack was "diabolical imperialist plan for the colonial reconquest of Africa".
It says that it's obvious that the vast sums needed to finance the operation must have been provided by powerful financial sources. The U.N. report said it must have cost at least one million U.S. dollars. The Security Council is to resume its discussions on the raid on Tuesday (12 April).