Rebels and government forces in Ivory Coast are trading accusations over a new outbreak of fighting amid a continuing deadlock over how to implement a power-sharing government.
The western-based rebels Sunday accused government forces of using helicopter gunships Saturday to attack civilians in the town of Bin-Houye near the border with Liberia. A rebel official tells VOA 20 civilians were killed in the fighting, but this could not be independently verified.
Army officials said they had delivered what they called an "appropriate response" to rebel attacks.
The fighting comes as northern-based Ivorian rebels say they will refuse to enter into the national unity government unless they are given key government ministries. Rebels maintain they were promised the defense and interior ministry posts under a French brokered peace-deal reached in January.
Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo has insisted, however, that he has final approval in filling ministerial posts.
Liberia's government has also recently accused Ivory Coast of involvement in the Liberian conflict. An Ivorian army official describes the whole region as, what he calls, a "mess." All sides accusen each other of using Liberian mercenaries.