UPDATE 1-Ivory Coast exiles set up strategic command in Ghana-UN panel

Tue Oct 9, 2012 11:39pm GMT

* Pro-Gbagbo exiles hire mercenaries from Ghana, Liberia-panel

* Ties between Ghana and Ivory Coast have been strained

* Gbagbo backers said trying to recruit Islamists in Mali

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Exiles supporting Ivory Coast's former President Laurent Gbagbo have established a base in neighboring Ghana from which they are working to destabilize the current Ivorian government, according to excerpts from a new report by a U.N. expert panel.

The supporters of Gbagbo, who is awaiting trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity, have a "military structure," have hired mercenaries in Ghana and Liberia and have established several training camps in eastern Liberia, the report said.

"They (Ivorian exiles) have established a strategic command in Ghana," it said, adding that their goal was to "destabilize" the government in Ivory Coast and return to power.

The observations were in an interim report from the so-called U.N. Group of Experts, which monitors compliance with the Ivory Coast sanctions regime.

The group plans to discuss its report with members of the U.N. Security Council's Ivory Coast sanctions committee on Friday, U.N. diplomats said.   Continued...

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