Ivory Coast PM sacks army chief

Ivory Coast Prime Minister Laurent Gbagbo has sacked the head of the army, hours before West African leaders were to meet for emergency talks on the crisis in the country.

    Hardliner Colonel Philippe Mangou is the new chief

    Gbagbo on Saturday replaced his army chief of staff with Colonel Philippe Mangou, a hardliner who commanded an assault on the rebel-held north last week.

    "Mangou was managing the attack. He's the one who made war," a senior Ivorian military source said. He said the heads of the air force and infantry had also been replaced.

    The bombing raids on the north, seized by rebel soldiers in 2002 after a failed coup attempt, triggered more than a week of unrest in Ivory Coast after nine French peacekeepers were killed in a raid on a French base.

    France responded by crippling Ivory Coast's air force, unleashing violent street protests against the French.

    West African leaders from countries including Gabon, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Libya and Senegal are due to meet in Nigeria on Sunday for emergency talks about the crisis.

    Exodus continues

    The exodus of foreigners, fleeing the violence in Ivory Coast, is meanwhile continuing.

    More French citizens arrived at a French military base by car in the main city of Abidjan, clutching bags, dogs and cats, with 780 people boarding flights to Paris.

    "I have lived here for seven years and I have never seen such hate. People have been terrorised," Christian Berche, a retired doctor, said.

    Nearly 5000 Europeans have been evacuated since Wednesday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    We travel more than 2,000km and visit communities along the route of the oil pipeline that cuts across Indigenous land.

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women married to ISIL fighters share accounts of being made to watch executions and strap explosives to other women.

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    The story of Ali Reza Monfared, the Iranian who tried to buy diplomatic immunity after embezzling millions of dollars.