7 June 2012

Cote d'Ivoire: Top Minister of Ex-Regime Extradited to the Country After His Arrest in Togo

press release

"Arrested in Togo, Lida Kouassi was extradited yesterday," says a prominent headline in Soir Info (p. 1). The article (p. 4) says that the former defense minister under ex-president Laurent Gbagbo's regime, who sought refuge in the Togolese capital Lome, was picked up at his residence and then handed over to Ivorian authorities. "Compromising documents, leading to a plan to destabilize Cote d'Ivoire, have been found on him," the paper (p. 5) quotes Ivorian Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko as saying.

With a photo of the former defense minister flanked by security agents on its front-page, Le Patriote carries a prominent headline explaining "How Gbagbo's security guru was picked up." Reacting to the arrest of the former defense minister, President Alassane Ouattara is quoted by Fraternite Matin as saying, "Everybody is aware of his involvement in the crisis." A report in this paper (p. 7) says that Mr. Lida Kouassi was arrested and deported in the execution of international arrest warrants issued by the authorities in Cote d'Ivoire against top officials of the former regime. The article also notes that the former defense minister is the first personality to be arrested as part of the application of these arrest warrants that were issued in August 2011.

"Attempted coup d'etat: Lida arrested yesterday," reads a banner headline in Le Nouveau Reveil (p. 1) which discloses that a plan aimed at "destabilizing" Cote d'Ivoire has been found in his residence in Lome. The paper also reports that supporters of the former regime, who have sought refuge in Togo since the recent post-electoral crisis in Cote d'Ivoire, are now fleeing into neighboring Ghana.

Le Nouveau Courrier hits its headline with what it describes as "the deal between Ouattara and Gnassingbe that led to the arrest of Mr. Lida Kouassi in Togo." A report in this paper (p. 5) says that the former defense minister was arrested when President Ouattara was in Togo to attend a summit of the heads of state of West African Monetary and Economic Union. The article quotes insiders as saying that the arrest and transfer of Mr. Kouassi was part of "a deal" between the Ivorian president and his Togolese counterpart. Another article on the same page of this paper says that the former leader of the youth wing of the opposition FPI party, Konate Navigue, was briefly questioned by the Ghanaian authorities yesterday in Accra. "Ouattara tracked down Lida Kouassi during his visit to Lome," reads a front-page headline in Notre Voie.

This daily press review is compiled by the Information Section of the Public Affairs Office of the American Embassy in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. The opinions expressed in these reviews in no way reflect the views of the United States Government and are presented for informational purposes only. The accuracy of reports contained in this summary has not been confirmed by the Embassy.

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