28 December 2007

Cote d'Ivoire: American Embassy's National Daily Press Review

This daily press review is compiled by the Information Section of the Public Affairs Office of the American Embassy in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

1. Rumors of a coup d'état, danger in the implementation of the Ouagadougou Accord, the Dozos uprising and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan are the main topics of today's press.

2. Soir Info (an independent daily): The paper runs a banner headline reading, "social and political tension, a coup d'etat is in preparation; gendarmes are taking measures." According to the paper, the commander in chief of the gendarmerie has given instructions to his elements to take special security measures as they have received information that there will be a sabotage of the peace process.

The paper also reports that after last week's dismantling, while the defense and security forces of the national army have gone back to their barracks in Yamoussoukro, ex-rebels have returned to the front line of Djebonoua, a small town 20 kilometers from Bouaké. The local population is complaining about their presence.

3. In L'Inter (an independent daily): The paper carries a front-page story saying: "Ripples in New Forces Zones: armed individuals have been arrested; what they were preparing; shooting in Seguela." According to the paper, after the uprising in Bouaké last Monday, it was the turn of Seguela where there were shootings during the night and people think that it was the supporters of Ibrahim Coulibaly alias "IB".

The paper also reports that the financial sources of the New Forces will be closed soon. According to the paper in the Ouagadougou Accord II and III, there were some clauses which stipulate that the State of Cote d'Ivoire must have one financial source and that on December 30, 2007 a system to collect funds must be installed to create one source of fund for the country. To respect that clause, the Prime Minister installed yesterday a technical committee which will prepare the ground for the deployment of customs agents and tax collectors throughout the country.

Concerning the implementation of the Ouagadougou Accord, the paper reports that Professor Francis Wodié, president of the Ivorian Labor Parti (PIT) yesterday told Le Nouveau Réveil (a daily close to the opposition), he had some reservations vis-à-vis the Ouagadougou Agreement. Professor Wodié warned that if the problems which brought the war are ignored, then the elections will be violent.

4. "Rumors of a coup d'etat before December 31, 2007, the Gendarmerie is in maximum alert" is the headline in L'Intellingent d'Abidjan (an independent daily). According

to the paper, the head of the Gendarmerie and his colleagues met on Wednesday to prepare a security plan for the celebrations of the end of the year as rumors are circulating that a coup d'etat is in preparation.

The paper also reports that Professor Francis Wodié of the Ivorian Labor Party advised politicians that although he approves the Ouagadougou Accord, he would like to draw the attention of Ivorians to the fact that the accord is not a miraculous solution. That is why he is asking politicians to revise the electoral lists so that they can be credible before the beginning of the election process.

5. Le Matin d'Abidjan carries a front page story that says: "Threat to the peace process, the army discovers a coup d'etat project; the connection IB-Doué-Palenfo is exposed." According to the paper, while the Ivorians are getting ready to celebrate the peace at this end of the year, some people are preparing in secret for violence. A coup d'etat was supposed to stop the peace process and estabish a new political order in Cote d'Ivoire. It is the job of General Doué, Palenfo and Sargent-Chief Ibrahim Coulibaly, a trio well known by Ivorians.

6. In le Nouveau Réveil (a daily close to the former ruling PDCI) a front page story says: "Wodié bitterly reproaches FPI and Gbagbo; I am afraid; Ouaga, one can dream but with caution." According to the paper, Professor Francis Wodié thinks that no lasting solution will be found to resolve the Ivorian conflict if it is not the expression of the general will of Ivorians. He is quoted as saying: "The general will of Ivorians must be through national consultations to find a new accord on all problems in order to have a peaceful atmosphere.

7. On another subject, Le Jour Plus (a daily close to the opposition) runs a banner headline reading: "Embezzlement in coffee and cocoa channels, the hearing of four ministers blocks the investigation." According to the paper, the investigation on embezzlement is facing difficulty in getting access to two former ministers of agriculture, the current one and the former minister of economy and finance. According to the paper, the difficulty is designed to protect influential members of the ruling FPI party. If the name of Bohoun Bouabre, whose name has been proposed to occupy the governor position of the Central Bank of West Africa countries (BCEAO), appears in the investigation, his hopes to occupy that position will be completely ruined.

8. In Le Patriote (a daily close to the opposition RDR), the front page story says: "Dozos pledge allegiance; Soro is our sole leader; no to two captains in a boat." According to the paper the problem of "Dozos" (traditional hunters) is settled. When they met Soro last Tuesday, the Dozo reaffirmed their confidence in the Prime Minister. They were quoted as saying: "We have not failed to fulfill our word. We reaffirm our total adhesion to the Secretary General who is our leader."

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