Cote d'Ivoire's "invisible commando" chief killed by pro-Ouattara forces

17:03, April 28, 2011      

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Staff sergeant Ibrahim Coulibaly popularly known as "IB" who was the head of "invisible commando" was killed on Wednesday in Abidjan during confrontations with the Cote d'Ivoire Republican Forces (FRCI), according to the television station TCI.

His death was announced on TCI by defense spokesman, captain Leon Alla Kouakou.

"Despite repeated calls from the prime minister for everyone to put down their weapons and come for dialogue, staff sergeant Coulibaly refused to obey. The FRCI who had gone to his residence at PK 18 fired warning gunshots but were met with deadly gunshots from IB's men," captain Alla said in a statement.

"The FRCI were therefore forced to fight back. After the confrontations, there were seven people reported dead on the side of the 'invisible commando' among them staff sergeant Ibrahim Coulibaly and two dead and several injured on the side of the FRCI, " he added.

Residents of Abobo district reported clashes on Wednesday afternoon between the FRCI and Coulibaly fighters.

The fighters who renamed themselves as "invisible commando" had in the past fought against the regime of the country's ex- president Laurent Gbagbo.

Between late January and February, the "invisible commando" attacked strategic positions of the pro-Gbagbo Defense and Security Forces (FDS) before the FRCI's offensive on Abidjan on March 31.

A former rival of the current prime minister and defense minister, Guillaume Soro, IB decided to resurface in the last few weeks.

Both Coulibaly and Soro were the main leaders of the ex-rebel New Forces (FN), which took the northern part of the country in the 2002-2003 civil war. However, internal quarrels forced IB to go into self-exile in France.

President Alassane Ouattara's government on Tuesday asked Coulibaly to lay down weapons in favor of negotiations, but the latter refused to come for security reasons.

IB expressed his desire to directly meet with Ouattara whom he recognized as the commander of all armed forces, but Soro said he must first meet with Ouattara's defense minister before seeing the president of the republic.

Cote d'Ivoire is embarking on a new chapter of history after the April 11 arrest of the country's strongman Gbagbo.

Source: Xinhua
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