Rebel leader criticises Gbagbo's speech

Abidjan- Côte d'Ivoire (PANA) -- Soro Guillaume, Secretary General of the Patriotic Movement of Côte d'Ivoire (MPCI) Friday criticised President Laurent Gbagbo's speech late Thursday, saying the country's mutinous soldiers should be disarmed by ECOWAS.
The Movement is the political wing of Ivorian mutineers who struck 19 September against Gbagbo's government.
"I am both surprised and scandalised by this speech, particularly as regards the aspect on a so-called disarming of our forces by the Economic Community of West African States," said Guillaume, who is considered an arrowhead of the rebellion.
He told PANA "there was no question of disarming in the text signed by the MPCI in Bouake, about 350-km north of Abidjan Thursday, within the framework of the sub-regional mediation led by Senegalese Foreign Minister, Cheikh Tidiane Gadio.
Guillaume said that by embarking on the peace talks, the MPCI wanted to "prove its good faith" to ECOWAS leaders, and accused Gbagbo of "being crafty as usual.
" "But he (Gbagbo) should know that this time he is not.
dealing with opportunist politicians, or naive intellectuals, but with determined, responsible and mature men who know what they want and where they are heading to," he warned.
Guillaume also accused the Ivorian leader of propagating "xenophobia and a government of exclusion.
for this reason, we decided to take up arms.
" In his televised speech, Gbagbo talked about the disarming of the rebels by a contingent to be sent by ECOWAS.
"By signing this document, (the cease-fire agreement), they (rebels) understood that they should lay down their arms.
ECOWAS will find a way of making them do so," he said.
The cease-fire agreement signed Thursday in Bouake by the rebels provides for the cessation of hostilities to be followed by talks and the institution by ECOWAS of a force to monitor the cease-fire, among others.
The mutiny launched by 750 Ivorian soldiers rejecting their demobilisation, has left more than 500 people dead and displaced over 200,000 others, according to humanitarian agencies.
The dead included former junta leader General Guei Robert and Interior Minister Emile Boga Doudou.

18 october 2002 17:09:00

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