by Staff Writers
Abidjan (AFP) July 7, 2011
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara has named General Soumaila Bakayoko, the former rebel military chief, as head of the country's newly integrated army, authorities said Thursday.
A joint statement from the defence and interior ministries said Bakayoko was appointed chief of staff of the Ivory Coast Republican Forces (ICRF).
The ICRF will merge forces loyal to Ouattara and the former Defence and Security Forces which served former president Laurent Gbagbo.
Gbagbo was arrested on April 11 after a 10-day battle for power in Abidjan and a four-month political standoff sparked by his refusal to accept defeat in last November's presidential poll.
Bakayoko replaces General Philippe Mangou, who had occupied the post since 2004 and switched allegiances three times between Gbagbo and Ouattara during the crisis.
A reshuffle of the west African country's top brass was seen as one of the most pressing challenges facing Ouattara in his attempt to stabilise the world's top cocoa producer.
"These appointments come within the framework of the Ouagadougou political accords," the joint statement said.
The 2007 Ouagadougou peace agreement provided for the integration of Bakayoko's New Forces (FN) into the regular armed forces within a month of the new president's swearing-in.
Ouattara took office on May 21.
Appointed as Bakayoko's deputy is Firmin Detoh Letoh, former head of the land forces under Gbagbo who defected to Ouattara's camp in the early stages of the battle for Abidjan.
Ouattara's army reshuffle affects most key jobs, except General Bredou M'Bia who remains police chief.
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Chad ready to discuss French troop presence
N'Djamena (AFP) July 6, 2011
Chad on Wednesday signalled readiness to negotiate the French military presence on its soil after France's foreign minister said Paris was mulling a troop withdrawal from its former central African colony. "Chad is prepared to begin negotiations with French authorities as early as next week on the presence of Operation Epervier (Sparrowhawk)," a senior ministry official told AFP as President ... read more
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