Ivory Coast to admit Ghana flights, keep land, sea borders shut

ABIDJAN, Sept 23 Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:29pm EDT

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ABIDJAN, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast will reopen its airspace to flights from Ghana but keep land and sea borders with its neighbour shut, said the Ivorian government on Sunday, after a series of deadly attacks last week in Abidjan and at a border crossing.

"After 48 hours of observation of the movements of people and goods between the two countries, it is decided that only the air borders will be opened from Monday," the office of President Alassane Ouattara said in a statement read on state television.

Ivorian airspace would reopen to Ghanaian flights from midnight, the statement said.

Ivory Coast closed its border with Ghana on Friday after the raids, during which Defence Minister Paul Koffi Koffi said eight people, including six attackers, were killed.

The country's Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko previously said the attacks on the army and police were launched from Ghanaian territory.

The assaults were the first since August, when near-daily raids on security forces revived fears of renewed instability a year after a brief civil war killed more than 3,000 people.

Ivorian officials said the attacks, and a series of similar raids last month, were organised by allies of former president Laurent Gbagbo, many of whom now live in exile in neighbouring countries including Ghana.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is recovering from a decade-long political crisis that ended last year with a brief civil war that killed more than 3,000 people. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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