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Ivory Coast Military Prosecutors Release High-Profile General - 2003-09-02


Military prosecutors in Ivory Coast have freed a high-profile general who was arrested last week after returning from France.

Prosecutors said Tuesday there was insufficient evidence to hold General Abdoulaye Coulibaly in connection with an alleged plot against President Laurent Gbagbo.

General Coulibaly was a high-ranking member of the military regime that ruled Ivory Coast for more than one year following a coup in December 1999.

Another military man who shares the same surname but is not related, Ibrahim Coulibaly, is in custody in Paris for his alleged leadership of the plot against President Gbagbo. Dozens of others have been arrested both in France and Ivory Coast in the case.

The prosecutor of Ivory Coast's military tribunal, Ange Kessi, says 18 people, including two generals, remain in custody in the country. Aides to Mr. Gbagbo have also accused reconciliation Prime Minister Seydou Diarra of involvement. Mr. Diarra has denied the charge.

Ivorian rebels now in a power-sharing reconciliation government say the alleged plot is a ploy to crack down on them and their supporters.

Rebels have controlled more than half of Ivory Coast since an insurgency in September 2002.

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