World Bulletin / News Desk
Ivory Coast has announced discovering thousands of fake soldiers serving in the country's military after scrutinizing the identity of 4008 deserters who had returned from exile early this year.
Defense Minister Paul Koffi said 3095 of those filtered out had no service numbers and were never members of the formal armed forces.
"There were civilians trained at army barracks by the former regime to aid the loyalists during the 2011 crisis," he said in a statement.
The minister said nearly all of the fake soldiers were close to the former regime.
More than 4000 armed men had fled to neighboring countries such as Ghana, Liberia and Togo following the ouster of former president Laurent Gbagbo.
Gbagbo was arrested at the presidential bunker on April 11, 2011, in Abidjan after weeks of street fighting with forces loyal to newly elected president Alassane Ouattara.
The Ouattara government had ordered all deserters to return by last November or be dismissed.
After an initial hesitation, most of the deserters heeded the call and reported for service in January.
The minister promised to hand the fake deserters to the Authority for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, which has already disarmed and provided jobs for 27,000 former militiamen.
But a source at the national reconciliation commission, who requested anonymity for not being allowed to speak on the matter, told Anadolu Agency that abandoning 3000 men trained on using weapons might be dangerous.Last Mod: 21 Nisan 2014, 09:47