UN and French troops help to restore calm on Ivory Coast town

United Nations troops and French peacekeepers deployed Monday north of Abidjan to help restore calm one day after clashes left around 10 people dead, officials said.

Unidentified assailants attacked two police stations in Anyama, a northern suburb of Abidjan, late Saturday and briefly seized the town of Agboville, 80 kilometers (50 miles) to the north, the military said in a statement.

Ivorian troops retook control of the town late Sunday. Capt. Bois Moreau, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast, said U.N. and French troops were dispatched to Agboville to help restore calm. He refused to say how many were sent there.

Moureau said the peacekeepers were unable to enter the town, however, blocked by angry residents. It was unclear why. Another U.N. spokesman, Hamadoun Toure, said troops were in the town itelf.

The Ivorian army said in a statement that seven of its troops were killed in the fighting along with "several assailants," 19 of whom were captured.

It was unclear why the attack was launched or who was behind it. An army official said the assailants freed 217 prisoners in the raid.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission condemned the attack, saying in a statement the violence "could jeopardize the important progress made in the peace process," particularly after the last round of talks in late June in Pretoria, South Africa.

The U.N. also called "on all parties to refrain from any action that could further contribute to the deterioration of an already worrying situation."

Ivory Coast has remained tense and divided despite numerous peace deals meant to knit the West African nation back together after its 2002-2003 civil war.

Rebels continue to hold much of the north of the world's largest cocoa producer while government forces hold the south, including the country's biggest city, Abidjan.

Nearly, 10,000 U.N. and French peacekeepers patrol a buffer zone that stretches east to west across the country, keeping the two sides apart, AP reports.

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