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Ivory Coast Charges Two at Dutch Company in Toxic Waste Scandal


Authorities in Ivory Coast have arrested two executives of a Dutch-based company, in connection with the toxic waste dumping that has caused seven deaths in Abidjan.

An Ivorian Justice Ministry official says a judge Monday charged the two executives of Trafigura Beheer BV director Claude Dauphin and West Africa manager Jean-Pierre Valentini with poisoning and breaking toxic waste laws. The official says the men, both French nationals, are being held in a local prison.

Trafigura, a commodities trader, says it is shocked by its executives' arrest.

A vessel chartered by Trafigura unloaded the waste at Abidjan's port last month. Authorities blame an Ivorian company named Tommy for dumping the material, which investigators say contains the potentially dangerous chemical, hydrogen sulfide.

Waste removal experts have begun working to recover the material from as many as 14 open-air sites around Abidjan.

The clean-up operation is expected to last several weeks.

Local hospitals have treated tens of thousands of people for symptoms believed to be related to the waste.

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