The French Defense Ministry says an investigation has confirmed an Ivory Coast man was killed by suffocation by French soldiers in the West African nation last May.

In a statement issued Wednesday the ministry says the man was killed while in an armored vehicle May 13. The statement says the commander of the French force in Ivory Coast was informed of the incident but did not inform his superiors.

Last month the ministry suspended General Henri Poncet and two other military officers for what it called "serious breaches of law, military regulations and orders" in connection with the incident.

French peacekeepers patrol a buffer zone in Ivory Coast separating the government-controlled south and the rebel-held north.

Some information for this story provided by AFP and Reuters.