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Ivory Coast Police Chief Fired

Ivory Coast has fired its police chief after a police officer in Abidjan shot and killed a French radio reporter.

Government spokesman Patrick Achi said late Thursday that Kouassi Yapo will replace Adolphe Baby as head of Ivorian police, following what he called an unacceptable act.

Mr. Achi said the government is also awaiting the results of a joint French-Ivorian investigation into Tuesday's murder of Radio France International journalist Jean Helene.

Security Minister Martin Bleou, who took office last month, on Friday rejected calls for his resignation. But he said he would reform the police force, improve police training and remove heavy weapons from police officers.

Mr. Helene was shot in the head while waiting outside Abidjan police headquarters to interview opposition militants who were about to be released.

The accused policeman, Sergeant Theodore Sery, has been quoted as telling investigators he did not act deliberately. Eyewitnesses say an argument preceded the shooting.

The United Nations special envoy for peace in Ivory Coast, Albert Tevoedjre, says the government should consider disarming police officers.

"We want to disarm everybody now, you know, the police should also be disarmed somehow," he said. "In the U.K. and even in the U.S., I don't think that police people carry guns everywhere. So, it is important. This helps us to underline the need for disarming the spirits and the hands."

He also says Ivorians must believe in peace for the country to become reunited.

Northern-based rebels suspended their participation in a power-sharing government last month, saying President Laurent Gbagbo is refusing to implement a French-brokered peace accord. The rebels say northern regions under their control are much safer than the government-held south, where police are heavily armed and run their own extortion operations at roadblocks.