Ivory Coast: January 2, 2004


Temptation causes discipline problems even in First World armies.
Four French soldiers tasked with guarding a bank in Bouake was sent back to Paris, to face criminal charges after being found carrying a bag of cash worth $72,000. The four were from the 126th infantry (based in Brive-la-Gaillarde) were detained after allegedly trying to buy diamonds and gold, then accused of "aggravated theft" in November and December. The men were placed under judicial investigation, one step short of formal charges. 

The main suspect told military police he found a sack stuffed with cash as he was patrolling the vicinity of the bank. Authorities believe the money belongs to a branch of the West African central bank in the rebel base of Bouake, where a bloody battle for spoils between bands of rebels and looters left at least 25 dead in September. 

The government of Burkina Faso arrested an army major in connection with a coup plot against their president, which was first revealed in September. Burkina Faso has accused government officials in the Ivory Coast and Togo of complicity in the affair. He was the 15th member of the armed forces to be arrested in connection with the alleged coup plot since September. The major had originally been a suspect but released.

Burkinan President Blaise Campaore has enjoyed close links with the Libyan leader Muamar Ghaddafi for years and often been accused as acting as Ghaddafi's agent in the destabilization of West African countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Ivory Coast. - Adam Geibel 


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