The Ivory Coast abandoned general military duty in connection with the civil war in 2003. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that IC stands for Ivory Coast. The defense, which is based on volunteerism, includes (2008) 17,500 men with 10,000 men in reserve. It is organized into four battalions, four older fighter planes and three combat ships. Semi-military security forces amount to 10,500 men. The material is semi-modern and of French origin. Defense spending amounted to 0.8% of GDP in 1996 and is 1.5% (2006) after the civil war.
In the country, which is in practice divided, there are a number of armed organizations. Four of them, New Forces, Front for the Liberation of the Great West (FLGO), Front for the Security of the Center-West (FSCO) and Group of Patriots for Peace (GPP/CPP/FLN) with a total of 45,000-50 000 people, is in opposition to the government.
Three organizations, the Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast (MPCI), the Ivorian Popular Movement for the Greater West (MPIGO) and the Movement for Justice and Peace (MJP) of a total of 25,000 people, have a ceasefire arrangement. A large organization, Patriots with 150,000 men, supports the government.
UN peacekeeping forces in the Ivory Coast (United Nations Operation in Ivory Coast, UNOCI) amount to 39 states with observers and seven countries with troops (Bangladesh, France, Ghana, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan and Senegal).
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The agreement signed in the capital of Burkina Faso Ouagadougou on 4 March 2007, which provided for the demobilization of the various armed factions and the reunification of the country under a new transitional government, was only partially applied, so much so that the persistence of outbreaks of civil war and the failure of the attempts at reconciliation led several times to the extension of the presidential term of Laurent Gbagbo. The presidential elections were held only in October-November 2010, in a climate of strong tension and mutual accusations: in the first round (31 Oct.) Gbagbo obtained 38% of the votes, followed by Alassane Ouattara with 32%; in December, after the second round (Nov. 28), the Electoral Commission awarded, with 54.1% of the votes, the victory to Ouattara, who had unexpectedly obtained the support of the third candidate, Henri Konan Bédié; the Constitutional Council, chaired by an ally of Gbagbo, however, rejected the results, declaring Gbagbo the winner; the UN refused to recognize Gbagbo’s victory and the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the United States and the European Union endorsed the UN decision. Extremely violent clashes between the opposing factions immediately broke out and the country plunged back into civil war: more than a million people were forced to flee their homes, according to UNHCR data (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). The country was split in two, with Ouattara’s forces occupying the capital Yamoussoukro and the port of San Pedro, while Abidjan remained in the hands of Gbagbo’s forces. Only in May 2011, thanks to the intervention of international troops and above all of the French contingent Liocorne, present in Ivory Coast d’A. since 2002, Ouattara was sworn in and officially assumed the leadership of the country, while Gbagbo was arrested and then handed over to the International Criminal Court in November, accused of crimes against humanity. In July 2011, the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Dialogue was launched (post-election violence had caused 3,000 victims and the displacement of 500,000 people), but the future of the country seemed full of unknowns linked in the first place to the accusations of crimes, all to be ascertained, revolts against the militias of Ouattara, secondly to the persistence of strong territorial divisions: it is no coincidence that the new president had gathered votes especially in the North. In the following years the situation, while moving towards relative normality, maintained evident elements of crisis which were also reflected in a decisive limitation of democratic freedoms: in fact, there were repeated reports of arbitrary detentions, discrimination against ethnic groups believed to be supporters of Gbagbo, severe restrictions on freedom of the press; a situation also denounced by the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation itself. In March 2014, Charles Blé Goudé, one of Gbagbo’s main allies, was also transferred to the International Criminal Court. while in March 2015 Simone Gbagbo – wife of the former president – was sentenced to Ivory Coast d’A. to twenty years in prison for his role in post-election violence.
Yamoussoukro, the official capital of the Ivory Coast; 355,600 residents (2014). The city, located in the middle of the country, was built from 1960 on a bare field near the then – birthplace of President Houphouët-Boigny, and in 1983 it was inaugurated as the nation’s capital. The city houses several grandiose buildings for the capital functions and in 1986-90 a cathedral inspired by St. Peter’s Church in Rome, albeit larger than this one, was built an outrageous prestige project in the poor country. However, the city has by no means been able to outperform Abidjan, which remains the country’s real capital. Since the president’s death in 1993, Yamoussoukro has seen a significant decline and in 2001 began to move the capital functions back to Abidjan.