NEW DELHI, APR 8 : India’s ambassador to the war-ravaged West African nation of Cote d’Ivoire was evacuated from her residence following heavy fighting near the Indian mission in Abidjan Friday morning, an official statement said.
According to the ministry of external affairs, Indian ambassador Shamma Jain was “safely evacuated” from her residence, near the presidential palace, early Friday morning, due to “very heavy fighting in Abidjan”.
“On account of the consequent grave danger, Ambassador Jain was safely evacuated from her residence, in the early hours of this morning (IST) at our request, by the UN forces in Cote d’Ivoire, who were ably supported by French troops,” said a statement.
The neighbourhood near the presidential palace has seen the heaviest fighting in the capital between the opposing forces between the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, his rival.
The ministry said that the ambassador and officials are safe in the capital city of Ivory Coast (as the country is called in English), as are the members of the small Indian community.
Ouattara had won the presidential elections last year, but Gbagbo has refused to hand over power. The United Nations, African Union and other international organisations have been demanding that Gbagbo should leave office voluntarily, and even imposed sanctions against his regime.
Indian nationals have been told to remain indoors on account of the prevailing security situation in the city. “Our mission personnel are in constant touch with them and the situation is being closely monitored,” said the press note.