CNN BREAKING NEWS
U.S. Troops Land in Ivory Coast
Aired September 25, 2002 - 10:58 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Something else just brightening right now is the situation for those kids in the Ivory Coast. We have gotten word within the last few minutes or so that American troops may have landed there in that area where they're at. Yamoussoukro is the airport that they've actually come down in. And we understand that the troops may be on their way either to the school or to elsewhere in the countryside to liberate some of those Americans who are there.
These kids have been pinned down for some time now in this Christian school there, where there have been...
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: About a week.
HARRIS: ... yes, for about a week or so, while these troops -- these warring troops have been firing over their heads, and in some cases, through the school campus.
KAGAN: Yes. Apparently, the school is not the target. It's just the wrong place, wrong time.
HARRIS: That's right.
KAGAN: Still, it's very concerning for those 100 or so kids that are there -- American kids.
Let's bring in our Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for the latest on U.S. military movement -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Daryn, as we have reported throughout the morning, U.S. troops -- some U.S. troops have now arrived in the Ivory Coast. About 200 military forces flew yesterday, landing overnight in next-door Ghana. They came from positions in Europe and other nearby locations, heavily-armed U.S. Special Forces.
They were asked to come to the area by the U.S. ambassador to the Ivory Coast. They have landed in Ghana, and within the last several hours, some of those forces took off for the Ivory Coast and have now landed.
What these forces are doing is simply pre-positioning themselves closer to the town of Bouake, where this Christian academy is, and these schoolchildren, faculty and staff are trapped in some crossfire between rebel and government forces.
Now, earlier today, French military forces, already in the Ivory Coast, took control of the school, providing security for the about 150 trapped Americans there. According to reports we have received from people inside the school, the French military has the situation well-in-hand at the school at the moment.
But the U.S. troops are now in the Ivory Coast, and if the ambassador requests it, they will move to Bouake and help facilitate the evacuation of the Americans from this area to a safer location.
As you said, there is no indication that the Americans are being specifically targeted. Instead, they are basically caught in the crossfire of a very ugly situation between rebel and government forces. They are said to be safe at the moment, but there is a lot of concern about them, and there is a desire to get them moved to a safer location.
So, again, the French military may be able to take care of all of it, but the U.S. forces are now in the country ready to assist -- Daryn.
KAGAN: All right, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, and we will be tracking it along with your help. Thank you so much.
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