Suspected Liberian gunmen seize Ivorian village, kill eight

ABIDJAN Fri May 16, 2014 5:11am EDT

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - At least eight people, including five civilians, were killed when gunmen believed to have come from Liberia seized a border village in western Ivory Coast, the parliamentarian for the area said on Friday.

Heavily armed fighters crossed the Cavally River, which forms the boundary between the two West African neighbors, and attacked the village of Fetai early on Thursday.

"The information that I have for the moment is that five villagers were killed in Fetai," Member of Parliament Yaya Coulibaly told Reuters by telephone from Grabo, a town 10 km (6 miles) from Fetai, adding fighting was continuing on Friday.

"I've just learned from the FRCI (Ivorian army) on the scene that three soldiers were killed at the beginning of the fighting," he said. Around 2,500 people had fled to Grabo from outlying villages for safety, he said.

Gunmen from Liberia have carried out several assaults on towns near the border in recent years which the government and the United Nations have blamed on allies of former president Laurent Gbagbo. Fetai was last attacked in February.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producing nation, is recovering from a decade-long political crisis that culminated in 2011 in a brief civil war after Gbagbo refused to accept his election defeat to Alassane Ouattara.

(Reporting by Ange Aboa; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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