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Pro-Ouattara Forces Attack Former Ally in Ivory Coast

Soldiers from the 'Invisible Commandos', loyal to Ibrahim Coulibaly, walk in the PK-18 area of the Abobo neighborhood, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, April 25, 2011

Forces supporting new Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara have again attacked a militia that helped drive his rival Laurent Gbagbo from power.

Witnesses say the pro-Ouattara Republican Forces attacked fighters of militia leader Ibrahim Coulibaly on Wednesday in Abobo, a neighborhood in the main city of Abidjan. Residents of the area reported hearing gunfire and heavy weapons fire.

A spokesman for Coulibaly, Felix Anoble, expressed surprise at the attack, saying it came as the militia prepared to heed President Ouattara's call to disarm.

Ouattara's and Coulibaly's forces both battled troops loyal to former president Gbagbo, but the two groups were rivals in the past. The sides clashed in Abidjan last week.

Earlier, Ouattara's government said it launched a criminal investigation of Gbagbo, who was taken into custody earlier this month.

A government spokesman, Patrick Achi, said the probe also targets Gbagbo's wife and his associates. He did not say what specific charges they are facing.

Gbagbo lost the November vote to Ouattara, but refused to hand over power, creating a violent political crisis. He and his wife are currently being held in separate locations in northern Ivory Coast.

The United Nations says hundreds of people were killed in clashes following the election, while more than a million were displaced.

Both pro-Gbagbo and Pro-Ouattara forces have been accused of killing and raping civilians during the crisis.

Ouattara has vowed previously to hold accountable all of those who committed crimes during the unrest.

The International Criminal Court at The Hague has said it is also conducting a preliminary investigation into crimes committed by both sides.