27 Lebanese evacuated Sunday from Abidjan

Relatives of Lebanese expatriates who stranded in the war-torn city of Abidjan , capital of the Ivory Coast staged a sit-in in front of the Lebanese foreign ministry in Beirut demanding a solution to the crisis.

Thousands of Lebanese in Ivory Coast are reportedly living in fear as the West African nation plunges further into a catastrophic civil war, but evacuation efforts thus far have only managed to rescue a few hundred people.

More than 90 percent of the Lebanese community lives in Abidjan, where clashes and riots have brought chaos to the lives of thousands of people since the conflict began in Ivory Coast.

It is estimated that tens of thousands of Lebanese expatriates live n the Ivory coast . They are reportedly the largest Lebanese diaspora community in West Africa and the majority emigrated from south Lebanon during the Lebanese civil war.

Voice of Lebanon VOL reported that Lebanese ambassador in Abidjan contacted resigned caretaker minister of foreign affairs and advised him that 27 Lebanese were evacuated Sunday from the war torn city

In another related development the Telegraph newspaper reported that French troops took control of Abidjan airport the French military said Sunday.

France has also boosted its Licorne (Unicorn) mission in the cocoa-rich nation by 300 to around 1,400 troops, where part of their mission is to protect foreigners from attacks and looting amid rising insecurity.

“Licorne, in coordination with UNOCI (United Nations Operation in Cote d’Ivoire), has taken control of Felix Houphouet-Boigny airport,” chief of staff spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard told AFP.

“UNOCI and Licorne troops are ensuring security and air traffic control at the airport,” Burkhard said.

This allows “civil and military aircraft to land at the airport so that foreigners wishing to leave Ivory Coast can do so,” he said, adding that no decision had yet been taken to evacuate foreigners.