13 June 2012

Cote d'Ivoire: Authorities Foil a Plot to Overthrow the Government

Photo: Human RightWatch
Ivorian soldiers at a border post with Liberia.(file photo)

press release

The Ivorian state television, RTI1 yesterday broadcast a video showing a group of soldiers claiming to be members of a "Council of National Sovereignty," announcing a coup d'etat. The video also showed the spokesperson of the Council of National Sovereignty announcing "the dissolution" of all state institutions and political parties indefinitely.

The video was broadcast during a live program with Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko who announced that the government has uncovered and thwarted a coup d'etat planned by exiled military officers believed to be close to former President Laurent Gbagbo. According to the minister, the security services had arrested several participants in the alleged plot and seized documents outlining a plan to topple President Alassane Ouattara and put in place a transitional military body.

Another video, which was broadcast during the TV program, quotes former defense minister Moise Lida Kouassi, who was arrested a few days ago in Togo and deported back to Cote d'Ivoire, confessing "I set up a plan designed to destabilize our country." According to the tape, Mr. Kouassi, who was speaking to investigators, also begged for presidential "pardon."

"The FPI confesses its attempted coups," says a prominent headline in Le Nouveau Reveil (p. 1). "The confession of Lida Kouassi," says a front-page headline in Fraternite Matin. "Coup d'etat against Ouattara's regime: Lida confesses," says a banner headline in Nord-Sud Quotidien, while another banner headline in Le Patriote reads: "all about the FPI's coup attempt." The paper (p. 1) also mentions officials of the former regime including former ministers such as Katina Kone and Augustin Comoe as the "financiers" of the plan to overthrow the government.

A front-page headline in Soir Info describes as "disturbing" the revelations about coup attempts made yesterday by the interior minister. "The one-man-show of prosecutor Hamed Bakayoko," reads a front-page headline in Le Nouveau Courrier which tells readers that the minister was attempting to "demonize" the opposition FPI party. The report (p. 3) also says that the minister wondered why the former ruling FPI was not dissolved, as happened, for example, in Tunisia.

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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