Ivory Coast army attacks - 73 detained

2012-08-30 20:40

Abidjan - Seventy-three people have been detained in Ivory Coast on charges that include violating state security following attacks on the army this month, a military prosecutor said on Thursday.

"Fifty-four civilians and 19 soldiers are being held in jail," Ange Kessi told AFP, adding they were charged with disturbing public order, violating state security or murder.

He added that 149 people had initially been detained following the series of attacks, but 76 were released after questioning.

He said the soldiers' trial would begin 6 September but did not specify a date for the others.

The attacks, which killed a dozen men in the west of the country and in the Abidjan region sparked a sharp rise in tension more than a year after the post-electoral crisis of December 2010 to April 2011 which claimed 3 000 lives.

Both President Alassane Ouattara's government and the army have blamed the attacks on supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo, who triggered the crisis by refusing to admit defeat at the polls to Ouattara.

The Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), formerly Gbagbo's party, has denied the claims and demanded inquiries.

Three key Gbagbo allies have been arrested since the recent attacks: FPI secretary general Laurent Akoun, former minister Alphonse Douati, and Gbagbo's spokesman Kone Katinan Justin.

On Tuesday, the head of Ivory Coast's post-war reconciliation panel said the country urgently needed dialogue amid the resurgence of tensions between the president and the opposition.