Côte d’Ivoire: President Ouattara debuts new anti-terrorism plan

By Baudelaire Mieu
Posted on Thursday, 22 December 2022 15:21, updated on Friday, 23 December 2022 14:34

Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, U.S., September 21, 2022. REUTERS

With stability concerns throughout the region, the specter of terrorism, and the Africa Cup of Nations fast-approaching, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara has announced plans to combat the rise in terrorist groups, effective early-2023.

Beginning January 2023, the Ivorian state will be inaugurating a brand-new counterterrorism strategy, designed to allay security fears ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2024.

Larger cities, such as Abidjan, the country’s economic capital, will be placed under heightened vigilance.

Thousands of soldiers, who inspired France’s Vigipirate techniques after the 2015 Bataclan attacks, are expected to mobilise around the largest, most sensitive, and population-heavy locations throughout the country, funded and organised by the National Security Council (CNS).

A collaboration of patrols between soldiers, gendarmes, and local police officers will crisscross the cities, ensuring a chain-of-command between all levels of law enforcement.

The minister of defence, Téné Birahima Ouattara — brother of President Ouattara — has expressed concerns about the sub-regional security situation, which is placing increased pressure on the country and potentially increasing the likelihood of terrorist attacks.

Stability issues persist

Since the ascension of Colonel Assimi Goïta to the interim presidency of Mali, the intelligence services of Colonel Modibo Koné (Director of the Ivorian National Intelligence Agency) no longer cooperates with their Malian counterparts, led by Vassiliki Traoré.

This impasse was further aggravated by the arrest of 49 Ivorian soldiers — three of whom have since been released — by the Malians last July.

Concerns have also risen over the latest coup d’état attempt in Burkina Faso, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Ibrahim Traoré at the end of September.

As stability issues persist with government overthrow attempts throughout the region, along with the increase in regional terrorist groups, Abidjan fears that Ouagadougou will follow in Bamako’s footsteps.

Ivorian authorities fear that the Burkinabé, who have reopened relations with Moscow as illustrated by a recent ministerial trip to Moscow by Burkinabé prime minister Apollinaire Kyélem de Tambèla, will rupture relations between the Burkinabé and the Ivorians.

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