ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Fighters loyal to Ivory Coast’s former president Laurent Gbagbo were behind a series of attacks that killed 10 soldiers in the commercial capital Abidjan since Sunday, the interior minister said on Tuesday.
The attacks on military and police targets have heightened fears of renewed instability in the West African nation as it emerges from a decade of political turmoil that ended last year in a brief civil war.
“(The assailants) were part of a network of pro-Gbagbo militias and soldiers,” Hamed Bakayoko told Reuters. “We have formal proof. We have the confessions of those we arrested yesterday with weapons and ammunition near the scene of the attack.”
Gunmen opened fire on a police station in Abidjan and a nearby military roadblock early on Sunday, killing five soldiers. Five others died when heavily armed fighters launched a raid on a military camp in the east of the city a day later.
The Defence Ministry said late on Monday the attacks, which follow a series of deadly cross-border raids by militants based in Liberia since the end of the civil war, aimed to “unsettle the people … and investors.”
Ivory Coast, the world’s top producer of cocoa, was the economic engine of French-speaking West Africa before a political crisis split the country in two a decade ago, setting the groundwork for last year’s civil war.
Some 3,000 people died in the violence, which erupted after Gbagbo refused to accept the victory of rival Alassane Ouattara in an election held in late 2010. Read more…