Ivory Coast reinforces border security

2015-07-01 22:00
Ivory Coast troops patrol around the Cocody area in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. (Emanuel Ekra,AP)

Ivory Coast troops patrol around the Cocody area in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. (Emanuel Ekra,AP)

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Abidjan - Ivory Coast has reinforced security along its northern frontier after recent attacks just across the border in Mali blamed on Islamist insurgents, a government spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Armed men attacked and briefly took control of Fakola, a town in Mali's southern region of Sikasso, close to the border with Ivory Coast, on Sunday. The raid followed a similar attack weeks earlier during which dozens of suspected Islamist militants hit a police station in the nearby town of Misseni.

Spokesperson Bruno Kone said after a cabinet meeting in the commercial capital Abidjan that Ivory Coast had been taking specific measures for months to protect it against a spillover of violence from Mali.

"In addition to the regular measures, reinforcements have been made after this threat was judged to be closer," he said. "We can say that things are being put in place to keep what's started to happen from going too far."

Kone declined to give further details, citing the need for operational secrecy. But he said the two neighbours' defence ministers were communicating and security had been reinforced on both sides of the border.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa grower and French-speaking West Africa's largest economy, is emerging from a decade-long political crisis and is now in the midst of an economic revival.

It has enjoyed relative stability since a brief civil war in 2011, having avoided violence related to armed Islamist groups that has affected some of its neighbours to the north in the vast, arid Sahel band.

A French-led military campaign in early 2013 liberated northern Mali from Islamist groups, which had seized control of the area after the Tuareg uprising led to a military coup that plunged the country into chaos.

Insecurity persists however, and though the violence is generally focused on Mali's desert north, attacks have in recent months crept further south.

Read more on:    ivory coast  |  mali  |  west africa

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