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Company Blamed for Ivory Coast Waste Dumping Concerned About Employees

A Dutch company blamed for a toxic waste scandal in Ivory Coast last August says two of its employees are at risk in an Abidjan prison, where they have been held for nearly two months.

A spokesman for Trafigura says the company has reports that the detained employees were attacked Monday by prisoners armed with knives and kitchen tools. He says the two men were not injured in the violence.

There was no independent confirmation of the report.

Trafigura says the two men traveled to Abidjan in September to help Ivorian authorities with their investigation. The spokesman says they were detained shortly thereafter.

Ivorian officials say toxic chemicals unloaded from a Trafigura-chartered ship were placed in open-air dumps and killed 10 people. The company insists the chemicals were not hazardous, and that they were properly offloaded and handed over to a government-certified company.

The company says it continues to cooperate with Ivorian investigators, while calling for its employees to be released from prison.