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28.04.2011 International

Ivory Coast renegate warlord Ibrahim Coulibaly killed

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An Ivory Coast militia leader has been killed by forces of the country's new President Alassane Ouattara.

The leader of the so-called Invisible Commandos, Ibrahim Coulibaly, was killed in an offensive on Wednesday, a defence ministry spokesman said.

The Commandos had helped Mr Ouattara gain control of parts of Abidjan during a post-poll dispute.

But they had since fallen out and their respective forces clashed on Wednesday in the city, Ivory Coast's largest.

"I can confirm that Ibrahim Coulibaly was killed during fighting today," defence ministry spokesman Capt Alla Kouakou Leon told Reuters.

A comander of the defence ministry's fighters said they had found Mr Coulibaly's body when they seized his headquarters.

Order to disarm
Mr Coulibaly, who had said he wanted recognition for his role in overthrowing Mr Gbagbo, had sought an audience with Mr Ouattara. But he refused a presidential order to disarm beforehand.

Government forces launched an offensive in Abidjan's northern Abobo district to dislodge Mr Coulibaly's forces.

Mr Kouakou added that two government troops and six fighters loyal to Mr Coulibaly men were also killed during the raid, which took place in a poor neighbourhood in the district.

His fighters had began battling the troops of fallen strongman Laurent Gbagbo in February, after they fired mortar shells and rockets into Abobo.

Mr Ouattara's predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, was captured two weeks ago by pro-Ouattara forces after he refused to step down following his defeat in last November's presidential elections.

The former president and his wife Simone have been put under house arrest in separate towns in the north of the country.

Thousands are believed to have been killed and wounded during the recent crisis.

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