An influential former rebel leader has told Ivory Coast’s army to mutiny and back a rival breakaway government in the wake of a contested presidential election that the opposition says was illegal.
Guillaume Soro, who led the rebels that swept Ouattara to power during that war, but whose relationship with the president has since soured, released a message on Facebook on Wednesday night, calling on the army to join the opposition government.
Turning now to our security and Defence forces … I’m asking you to disobey illegal orders and join the national transitional council,” he said. “We cannot, out of fear, allow dictatorship in Ivory Coast by Alassane Ouattara.”
It was unclear if there was any reaction to the statement late on Wednesday, but it added to tensions that many fear could help destabilise a region beset by political unrest.
The standoff has raised concerns about instability in the world’s top cocoa producer, where a civil war killed 3,000 people in 2010-2011 following a disputed election between Ouattara and his predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo.
This election season, more than 40 people died in clashes.