Ivory Coast military muzzled

2011-12-20 22:06

Monrovia - The president of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, has ordered the country's army back to their barracks, with a ban on military patrols, local media reported on Tuesday.

The ban, which will be effective on Thursday, is part of a drive to ensure that the army - which was formed after Ouattara came to power in April -is fully compliant with the government and that all soldiers are registered.

It follows an incident in the country's hilly western region on Saturday, when soldiers who claimed to be part of the army killed five young men.

According to Paul Koffi, Ivory Coast's defence minister who spoke on national radio on Tuesday, the president "is outraged by what happened".

The chief of the army "has taken immediate measures to impose order", Koffi said, including "the creation of a military police force that will make sure army soldiers are patrolling in clearly-marked cars or motorbikes".

Tensions are still high in Ivory Coast after ousted former leader Laurent Gbagbo was transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague in November. He will undergo trial in June 2012, charged with human rights abuses during a four-month conflict this year.