Ivory Coast militia leader, Ibrahim Coulibaly, killed

Minister of Foreign Affairs have stated that the forces of new President, Alassane Ouattara, killed one of the best known fighter of the Ivory Coast’s civil war, Ibrahim Coulibaly, at age of 47, on Wednesday 27th.

Mr. Coulibaly was murdered, in gunfire, after an extensive labor among the political struggle of Ivory Coast in the last years. His role had been essential since the several coups that took place in this African country during the 90’s and early 00’s. Indeed, it was during the uprising in 2002 when he appeared as a militia leader, something he has kept until his death this week.

 However, it is hard to understand the reason why Ouattara’s forces have ended up with the life of ‘IB’, as he was called, since he had served as a personal bodyguard of the recently elected president. The only explanation comes from the BBC’s reporter in Abidjan, John James, who says Mr. Coulibaly’s death eliminates a potential cause of instability for the new government. Actually, Coulibaly and his soldiers refused to quit arms, which was enough for the military forces to attack them. But the troubles come from deeper: every militia in Ivory Coast is undergoing the same situation, since Ouattara’s government has limited control over them, and never knows where the problems can come from. Ibrahim Coulibaly and his ‘Invisible Commandos’ started to fight the government troops of Laurent Gbagbo in February, positioning themselves on Ouattara’s side.

During the gunfire, other men were killed: two government troops and six fighters loyal to Mr. Coulibaly in the raid, which took place in a poor area of Abidjan, the main port of the Ivory Coast, around the district of Abobo.

This is the latest episode of a situation that goes back to the death of the country’s first president, Houphouët Boigny, in 1993. This tragedy marked the beginning of a political instability that culminated in 2002 with the first military coup in the country, causing the current civil war and the sending of a peacekeeping force from the United Nations.

Since then, the country has entered in a process of economic decline, in large part caused by the falling world market prices for cocoa and coffee and by the foreign aid restrictions to this country due to the internal corruption during the Konan Bedie’s government.

The social and political situation of the country it’s also in crisis, the nation has been divided along religious and ethnic lines since the military coup, with a predominant Muslim north and a predominant Christian south. So the Ivory Coast international reputation of being a model of political stability and economic prosperity, achieved after its independence from France in the 60’s, is now totally destroyed.

After Ibrahim Coulibaly’s murder, it’s clear that the situation in the Ivory Coast is still threatening international peace and security, that’s why the Security Council, decided to establish the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) as from 4 April 2004. The United States and France are also intervening in the conflict. But although all these, the comparison between the Libyan and the Ivory Coast international response is still in the spotlight for some analysts, because it’s not the same fighting for a handful of cocoa than for a barrel of oil.


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