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Ivory Coast Rebel Fighters Declare 'IB' New Leader

A group of rebel fighters in Ivory Coast broke into a television station on Friday and declared an exiled soldier, long seen as the secret mastermind of the rebellion, their new leader. The fighters said their leader, known as “IB,” would need to be included in any decision by rebel ministers to return to the coalition government, a move which is likely to undermine further a rocky peace deal in the world’s top cocoa grower. “All talks, all decisions between the New Forces and third parties cannot take place without the effective presence of Sergeant Ibrahim Coulibaly. As a result, any other decision is null and void,” said a spokesman for the fighters called Bamba Kassoum, known as “Kass,” in the rebel stronghold of Bouake. While IB has long been suspected of being the behind-the-scenes backer of Ivory Coast’s rebellion, he has never admitted to it. Guillaume Soro emerged as the rebels’ political leader and former Ivorian officer Colonel Soumaila Bakayoko is currently the rebel chief of staff. Full Story

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