Ivory Coast clears homes around airport after child stowaway’s death

Abidjan airport.PHOTO/Airports Council International.
Abidjan airport.PHOTO/Airports Council International.

Authorities in Ivory Coast have evicted tens of thousands of people living near the country’s main airport in response to the death of a 14-year-old boy in the undercarriage of a plane earlier this month.

The boy, Laurent Barthelemy, is believed to have snuck into Abidjan airport through the shantytown along the perimeter before jumping a fence.

His body was found when the Air France flight landed in Paris earlier this month.

The government announced it would create a 200-metre security perimeter around the airport to prevent such incidents happening again and ordered the Adjouffou neighborhood evacuated.

Ahead of the deadline on Monday, people in Adjouffou, a warren of dilapidated, low-slung houses with some 200,000 residents, hurriedly gathered their belongings, including tin roofs, mattresses and toilet seats.

Many did not know where to go next.