6 AFP officers trapped in Ivory Coast uprising

SIX FILIPINO military officers of the UN Military Observers in the strife-torn Ivory Coast were reportedly trapped as violence continues to escalate in the West African country following dispute over last year’s election result.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said in a statement that the six, led by Lt. Colonel George Tagle, were trapped at the UN Headquarters at Seborko Hotel in Abidjan being besieged by forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent leader of Ivory Coast.

The other Filipino military officers trapped in the besieged UN headquarters are Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jorge Vicente Aganan Jr., Lt. Colonel Emilio Felicen, Army maj Marces T. Gayat, Army major Arthur Romanillos, and Air Force major Randy Bance.

AFP chief information officer, Lt. Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, said that the six were trapped due to heavy fighting between forces of pro-Ouattar, Republican loyalists of Alassane Ouattar, and the pro-Gbagbo protesters.

Tagle is part of the staff that is staying outside the said hotel and is confined and restricted in his residence at Graciela Apartment since March 30 when fierce fighting erupted, Burgos said.

But, the AFP official quickly added that Tagle and his fellow Filipino UN Military Observers are safe and out of danger.

“This only manifests the dedication and commitment of our Filipino UN observers whom we have sent to restore peace in a foreign land,” AFP chief, General Eduardo Oban Jr., said in the statement.

The AFP chief added, “They remain loyal and steadfast to their mission despite the dangerous circumstances and threats to their lives.” Anthony Vargas


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