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Soro's forces warn Ghana
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General News of Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Source: Statesman

Soro's forces warn Ghana

IN spite of assurances this week from President JEA Mills to the outgoing pro-Gbagbo Ivorian ambassador to Ghana, Emmanuel Auguste Ackah, that Ghana “will not tolerate any group of persons to use Ghana as a base to create trouble for our neighbours,” les Forces Nouvelles de Côte d'Ivoire (the New Forces), the main military force in the Republican Forces which led the recent military action to overthrow Laurent Gbagbo has accused Ghana of hosting pro-Gbagbo men who are allegedly planning to destabilize Cote d'Ivoire.

President Mills' denial of rebel activities in Ghana was in direct response to a report in pro-Ouattara newspaper, Le Patriote, last week. But, this subsequent accusation from the feared New Forces raises serious regional security issues for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire.

The Ivorians have hinted of a possible international arrest warrants being issued from Cote d'Ivoire for the extradition of the alleged coup plotters who are said to be seeking refuge in Ghana in spite of denials from the Ghanaian leader.

The New Forces have named former Defence Ministers and security advisor to deposed leader Gbagbo and a known associate of Capt (Rtd) Kojo Tsikata, Kadet Bertin, former Naval Commander Konan Boniface, and Moussa Toure Zeguen, head of a pro-Gbagbo militia group known as the GPP, as among those hiding in Ghana and plotting to overthrow the legitimately elected leader of Cote d'Ivoire.

According to Soro's army, the Ghanaian-based dissidents “can continue to dream and imagine themselves overthrowing the government of President Alassane Ouattara.”

He warns, “That will become their worse nightmare and suicidal for any nation that supports this path.”

The New Forces warn that Ghana would “inevitably get its fingers burnt,” if it continues to fail to act against the alleged subversive activities.

However, President Mills insists, "Our intelligence agencies have the kind of expertise to monitor the activities …"

More disturbing for Ghana's diplomatic relations with the neighbouring country is the fact that Guillaume Kigbafori Soro, Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Cote d'Ivoire controls the New Forces.

President Mill has been invited to attend the investiture of Ivorian President-elect, Allasane Ouattara, to be held on May 21, 2011. The invitation was personally delivered by Prime Minister Soro, who was diplomatic in praising President Mills during that recent visit.

Yet, a report posted on the website of the New Forces, (www.fninfo.ci) this week carries the headline, “Le silence coupable d'un pays frère”, or “The guilty silence of a brother country.”

The report begins, “Since the capture of the former Ivorian head of state, most of the chiefs of the former regime who were able to escape the mesh of Republican Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (FRCI) took refuge in Ghana, a brother border to the east of Côte d'Ivoire.”

It continues, “There are persistent reports and increasing rumours that these refugees, whose hands are soaked in Ivorian blood are being allowed to prepare an uprising against Cote d'Ivoire from Ghana.”

The report stresses, “Worse still, the Ghanaian authorities have kept quiet, observing these subversive activities without reacting.”

The New Forces, say, “Ultimately, one would wonder whether the political and military authorities of Kwame Nkrumah's Ghana would not be complicit in the actions of these misguided refugees, who must answer for their actions in Côte d'Ivoire.”

The Republican Forces continue to be fighting pockets of resistance in parts of Cote d'Ivoire and they suspect these militia actions are being masterminded from Ghana.

Guillaume Soro is the head of the Republican Forces army which overthrew Gbagbo. He was leader of the powerful New Force rebel coalition when it was established in 2002 during the Civil War, and became a key player in the events of recent months.

In the aftermath of the 2010 elections and the political crisis that ensued, the alliance between Ouattara and Soro became increasingly formal as the New Forces were incorporated into the Republican Forces under Soro's command.

The support of Soro and his Republican Forces, which comprised 10,000 troops and controlled 40% of the country in the northern regions, was crucial in providing Ouattara with the military backing which bolstered the support of the international community and ECOWAS and was key to Gbagbo's removal.

In July 2010 Guillaume Soro left his role as leader of the New Forces in order to assist the Ivory Coast in its preparations for the democratic election to be held later that year. Soro was unable to run for President since he did not meet the age requirement - 40-years-old - stipulated by the constitution.

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