Former ICoast rebel leader accused of mounting coup bid
( AFP ) - Ivory Coast's New Forces rebel group, now part of the unity government, accused Sunday one of its former leaders of trying to stage a coup in the west African nation.
"Ibrahim Coulibaly advanced towards the Ivory Coast-Ghana border from where he was aiming to... join his accomplices on the night of December 27-28 to stage a coup d'etat and topple state institutions," a group statement said.
The New Forces already said Friday it had thwarted a "plot" by Coulibaly after troops attacked the group's headquarters in the second city of Bouake, but stopped short of saying it was a coup attempt.
Coulibaly, popularly referred to by his initials "IB" in his home country, funded the rebel movement which staged an abortive coup in September 2002 to topple President Laurent Gbagbo.
He was later sidelined by Ivory Coast's current Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, who took over the leadership of the rebels.
Coulibaly had been living in Benin but the government this week ordered him to leave saying he had broken the terms of his exile by plotting to undermine the peace process in Ivory Coast.
Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, was split after the 2002 rebellion into the rebel-administered north and the government-held south.