The following is a summary of major developments in Cote d’Ivoire as reported in Ivoirian traditional and social media on 25 and 26 April. The report focused on the visits of the Prime Minister to Muslim and Catholic leaders, rumors of the alleged launch of a new bank note by the Central bank, and investigations following a recent attack on a military base in Abidjan. The report also focused on social media discourse on alleged new bank note and contained editorial notes aimed at providing context to the major pieces of information.
Prime Minister Meets With Muslim, Catholic Leaders
Prime Minister Patrick Achi on 24 April met with the Higher Council of Imams (Conseil Superieur des Imams, COSIM in French) and hailed the “great contribution of the COSIM to the reinforcement of social cohesion and the preservation of peace in Cote d’Ivoire.”
The same day, Achi met with Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa and discussed the “current economic, social, and political situation” of the country. Achi also hailed the “very great convergence of views” between the government and the cardinal.
Note: The two visits are part of moves by the government to bring long-term reconciliation among Ivoirians, especially as the country is preparing to welcome former President Laurent Gbagbo after the International Criminal Court cleared him of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Central Bank Denies News of Upcoming Launch of New Bank Note
The Central Bank of West African States (Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, BCEAO in French), denied news that it planned to release a 50,000 FCFA bill. A communique posted on the Bank’s website read: “The Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) informs the public that fake messages attributed to it are being circulated on social networks alleging that it plans to launch a new 50,000 CFA franc note” — approximately $92. (Read full communique at: https://www.bceao.int/fr/communique-presse/fausse-information-relative-une-nouvelle-coupure-de-50000-fcfa)
Gendarmerie Arrests 12 People Following Attack on Military Base in Abidjan
On 25 April, the National Gendarmerie announced on state broadcaster RTI1 that it arrested 12 people suspected of participating in a recent attack on the Ndotre military base in the north of Abidjan. The arrest followed an investigation over the attack that took place on the night of 20 to 21 April. Reports said that two of the assailants were found dead with Liberian passports and driving licenses, and one solider wounded.
Note: Ivoirian military authorities said that “jihadists” were not behind the attack, despite the growing concern about jihadi activities in Cote d’Ivoire. On 29 March, unidentified gunmen attacked too small military barracks in the towns of Kafolo and Kolobougou, both located on the border with Burkina Faso.
Netizens Express Relief After BCEAO Denies Rumors of New Bank Note
A post on First Mag Le Vrai, a discussion forum with more than 1 million members, saying that news relating to the launch of a new bank note by the BCEAO was fake, generated 51 comments, generally expressing relief.