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CNN BREAKING NEWS

French Troops Secure School; U.S. Troops in Ivory Coast

Aired September 25, 2002 - 10:49   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We have an update for you now on that story that we have been following out of the Ivory Coast, the situation with those school children, 101 U.S. school children there.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Holed up in that international Christian school in the middle of the country -- an encouraging development, I think it's safe to say.

Let's bring in our Barbara Starr at the Pentagon -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn. Good morning, Daryn. Well, we can now confirm to you that those U.S. troops have landed in the Ivory Coast after taking off from Ghana next door earlier today.

We have talked about this now several times. As you will remember, about 200 U.S. troops landed in Ghana overnight, ready to move into the Ivory Coast. Elements have now moved to the Ivory Coast. They are prepositioning themselves to be ready to mount a rescue attempt to get those American school children, faculty, and staff from the Christian school in the town of Bouake where there is a great deal of civil unrest.

The school is not being targeted, but those school children are caught in a crossfire after a failed coup attempt last week. French military forces are already at the school and have secured it, so it is not clear if the U.S. military forces will actually move into the school and specifically rescue the children and mount the evacuation attempt themselves.

It may turn out that French military forces have the situation well in hand, and will be able to take care of it themselves. But now, some elements of the 200-man U.S. military force are in the Ivory Coast, as we speak and they are ready to move if they are ordered do so by the ambassador, and the head of the European Command, General Joe Ralston -- Daryn.

KAGAN: All right. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Thank you. We will have more on this in the next hour -- thank you.

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