Ivory Coast Accuses Exiled Officers of Planning Coup

Posted June 13th, 2012 at 2:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Officials in Ivory Coast say they have foiled an attempt to overthrow the government that was plotted by a group of exiled military officers with ties to former president Laurent Gbagbo.

Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko told state television late Tuesday that authorities arrested several people, including Colonel Kate Gnatoa, whom he identified as the leader of the group.

The station aired a video tape showing several uniformed men, with one of them reading a statement announcing the takeover of the government by a military council.

In comments to VOA, the interior minister said a “clear link” was found between Moise Lida Kouassi, a former defense minister, and the plotters' plan to form a new transitional government.

Bakayoko says Kouassi confessed about his involvement during a police interrogation.

Mr. Gbagbo lost a 2010 presidential poll to President Alassane Ouattara, but fought to remain in power. About 3,000 people were killed in a bloody power struggle between the two sides, until the former president was captured in April of last year.

Mr. Gbagbo has been charged with crimes against humanity and is being held in The Hague by the International Criminal Court.

Western Ivory Coast has remained unstable since his arrest. The United Nations on Wednesday said four civilians were killed in separate attacks on Tuesday, bringing the total to 20 deaths, including seven peacekeepers in a week.

Human Rights Watch has blamed the killings on Ivorian militiamen and Liberian mercenaries from eastern Liberia.