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Arrests Made in Assassination Attempt on Ivory Coast PM


Officials say several people were arrested in connection with a rocket attack Friday on a plane carrying Ivory Coast's Prime Minister Guillaume Soro.

A government spokesman announced the arrests Saturday, but said he could not identify the suspects.

Prime Minister Soro was not harmed, but three other people on the plane were killed when it was hit by a rocket at Bouake's airport in central Ivory Coast.

In a statement late Friday, U.N. Security Council president Johan Verbeke of Belgium strongly condemned the attack and any attempt to disrupt the Ivory Coast peace process.

The U.N. mission in Ivory Coast and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also denounced the violence.

It is not clear who was responsible for the attack in Bouake, a rebel stronghold.

A journalist who was on Mr. Soro's plane at the time said two explosions rocked the aircraft as it landed. Witnesses outside the plane say it was hit by a short-range rocket. There also were reports of gunfire after the initial blast.

Mr. Soro is a former rebel leader. He was sworn in as Ivory Coast's prime minister in April.

In March, Mr. Soro and Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo signed an agreement to restart the stalled peace process between the rebels in the north and the government in the south.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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