CNN BREAKING NEWS
U.S. to Send Troops to Ivory Coast
Aired September 24, 2002 - 10:26 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Some breaking news out of the Pentagon, an unexpected development for the U.S. military.
Our Barbara Starr is standing by at the Pentagon with that.
Barbara, good morning.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn.
Well, CNN has confirmed that U.S. troops are now on the move, expected to land in the nation of the Ivory Coast on the western coast of Africa in the next several hours. This involves about 200 U.S. special forces. They have been asked to come to the Ivory Coast by the U.S. Ambassador to ensure the safety and security of more than 2,000 Americans who currently live in the Ivory Coast. There was a failed coup attempt in that country in the last several days and there are some very unsettled areas. So the troops, which are U.S. special forces, are on the move. They are expected to land in the Ivory Coast.
There is one troubling area they may go to rather quickly, we are told. There are a number of Americans, about 100 Americans, at a school in the contested area of the ivory coast. This is outside of the nation's capital, and there is every expectation that the U.S. special forces will go it this school and move the 100 Americans to a safer spot.
As we understand it, the capital is relatively calm. The U.S. Embassy and the personnel inside of the embassy at the moment do not appear to be in any danger, but these special forces, again, requested at the request of the ambassador, they are going to ensure the safety and security of Americans. This has not gone yet to what would be the next logical step, we are told. There is no immediate plan for what is called an evacuation, a noncombatant evacuation of those 2,000 Americans. They feel at this point many Americans are in safe locations, but they are concerned about those Americans at the school, and the troops may go there rather quickly after landing in the Ivory Coast and try and move them.
One of the reasons they are moving so quickly, of course, is the Ivory Coast on the west coast of Africa is a fair distance from any readily available location where U.S. troops are stationed. It is our understanding that the troops will come from a nearby area, as well as from Europe. So it is taking them some number of hours to get there. But again, this is expected to all unfold before the end of the day -- Daryn. KAGAN: Barbara, one quick question, you say it is the U.S. ambassador of the Ivory Coast asking for help from the special forces. Is this with the blessing and the welcome mat of the government there?
STARR: That is not, to be quite candid, that is not entirely clear at the moment. It is our understanding that at the moment, the capital area is under the control of the government and it is relatively calm, relatively safe there, and certainly, the government of the Ivory Coast, as it exists today, would have an understanding that American troops are on the way, but they are going in heavily armed, as they always do, prepared for any contingency they might encounter. They don't expect it, but they will be ready.
KAGAN: All right, Barbara Starr, thank you for that development from the Pentagon.
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