8 August 2012

Cote d'Ivoire: Ivorian Authorities Blame Attack of Army Base On Pro-Opposition Supporters and Announce the Arrest of Assailants

Photo: Fraternité Matin
Ivorian army.

press release

A prominent headline in Le Patriote (p. 1) quotes the Interior Minister, Hamed Bakayoko, as saying that "supporters of the former president, Laurent Gbagbo, were behind the series of attacks on an army base and police stations in Abidjan and the eastern region of Abengourou" over the last weekend.

"I think this has been planned from Ghana by former defense and security forces loyal to Gbagbo," the paper quotes the interior minister as saying during an interview with French International Broadcaster RFI.

"Attacks on Akouedo, Yopougon and Abengourou: The FPI kills 12 within 24 hours," reads a front-page banner headline in Le Nouveau Reveil. The paper (p. 5) also quotes the interior minister as saying that "militias and soldiers loyal to former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo were behind a series of attacks that killed 10 soldiers since the weekend in Abidjan."

In the wake of the series of attacks that L'Inter (p. 1) blames on "an invisible commando," the paper carries a front-page headline suggesting that "Ouattara's regime is threatened." The paper (p. 2) claims that this commando is yet to be identified and questions whether the gunmen who raided a military base and a police station in Abidjan were "militias, pro-Gbagbo mercenaries, disgruntled government forces or former security forces." The paper also quotes eyewitness reports saying that there were approximately "100 gunmen" who were able to make away with "200 guns."

A front-page headline in Notre Voie states that a man calling himself "General Timothe Sekongo" has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Akouedo military base. The paper (p. 7) carries a statement issued by the opposition FPI party "condemning the attacks on the Akouedo military base and the police station in Yopougon by unidentified gunmen." According to the paper, the statement continued: "The FPI exhorts the government to identify those responsible for these crimes and bring them to justice."

Another article in Notre Voie (p. 6) however denounces the government's "premature accusations" against supporters of the former president, adding that by doing so the minister of interior is exposing supporters of Laurent Gbagbo to "any sort of abuses." In a related development, the paper (p. 7) reports that one of the lawyers of the former president was briefly detained shortly after the weekend's attacks. Another report on the same page claims that Mr. Mady Bouabre, a former MP believed to be close to the former first lady, has been arrested and detained by the police.

Le Nouveau Courrier carries a prominent front-page headline describing the series of attacks that killed 10 soldiers since the weekend in Abidjan as "a humiliation" for the authorities in Cote d'Ivoire

A front-page headline in Nord-Sud Quotidien says that "the brains behind the attack on the Akouedo army base have been arrested," while a front-page headline in Fraternite Matin says that "25 militia members have been arrested in connection with the Sunday attacks." According to the paper, government forces are still searching for other gunmen.

According to a report in Fraternite Matin (p. 7), President Alassane Ouattara met on Monday with Minister of Security Hamed Bakayoko, Minister in Charge of Defense Paul Koffi Koffi, and the army commanders to discuss the recent attacks in Abidjan. Speaking after the meeting, the interior minister reportedly said that "the president has given instructions to remain firm with people who are trying to disrupt the peace of the Ivorian people." This "urgent meeting" was summoned by the president in order "to assess the situation after the recent events," Mr. Bakayoko reportedly said.

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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