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Ivory Coast to reopen Ghana border today: defence minister

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Ivory Coast to reopen Ghana border today: defence minister
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Abidjan: Ivory Coast's land and sea borders with Ghana, closed after a deadly attack on September 21, will reopen today, the defence minister announced.

Paul Koffi Koffi said late yesterday on RTI public television that President Alassane Ouattara had decided the borders would reopen at 7:00 am (0700 GMT) today.

All borders were closed after gunmen attacked a border checkpoint at Noe in Ivory Coast and then fled to Ghana, but air links were reopened on September 24.

Five assailants were killed in the shootout, another five were arrested, while the rest fled into Ghana, Ivorian officials said.

Ghanaian police said they had arrested three men in possession of AK-47 rifles on suspicion that they were plotting to overthrow Ouattara's government.

Koffi said that since the closure "the two brotherly countries have strengthened their security along the common border with the aim of preventing any incursion" while Ouattara and his Ghanaian counterpart John Dramani Mahama "have stayed in permanent contact."

Mahama said on September 26 that Ghana would not allow its territory to be used as a base to attack neighbouring nations.

He noted "the unfolding tensions in Ivory Coast," and said Ghana "will not harbour any individuals or groups whose intent is to utilize Ghana as a base of operation to undermine the safety and security of another nation," in an address to the United Nations that was distributed in Accra.

The closure of the frontiers caused major difficulties for trade between the neighbours and for residents of the border region.

Ivory Coast's security forces were in August hit by a wave of attacks in and around Abidjan and in the west of the country, attacks blamed by the authorities on former president Laurent Gbagbo. Gbagbo's FPI party rejected the accusation.

It was the most serious surge of violence since the end of the post-election conflict between December 2010 and April 2011 which according to a UN estimate left about 3,000 people dead.

PTI

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