The head of West African bloc ECOWAS has sent a letter to Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo condemning violent rhetoric and accusations of regional nations sending mercenaries to the country, a statement said on Thursday.
James Victor Gbeho, the president of the ECOWAS commission, sent the letter to Gbagbo, the statement said.
It "referred to the recent 'inflammatory speech' by Mr. Ble Goude, the minister of youth and leader of the Jeunes Patriots, inciting his followers to take arms against the citizens of other ECOWAS member states and accusing some of the states of supplying mercenaries to opponents in the Ivorian crisis."
"The ECOWAS commission strongly disapproves of such vitriolic hate speech and takes a serious view of calls to attack innocent citizens of other countries living in Cote d'Ivoire," the letter said.
ECOWAS issued the statement as heads of state from the bloc were meeting in a two-day summit, with discussions including Ivory Coast.© ANP/AFP