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Republic Forces of Cote d’Ivoire (FRCI)

On 17 March 2011, President Ouattara combined the former rebel Forces Nouvelles (FN) with cooperating elements of the Defense and Security Forces (FDS), the former government’s security forces, into the Republic Forces of Cote d’Ivoire (FRCI - Force Republicaines de Cote d'Ivoire), the country’s new official military. On 9 February 2014, FPI demanded the suspension of the 2011 decree unifying the former national armed forces of Côte d’Ivoire and the Forces nouvelles, and requested that FRCI be renamed “National Armed Forces of Côte d’Ivoire”

The FRCI committed extrajudicial killings in the months immediately following its March 17 creation. Many killings were reprisal attacks on perceived or actual Gbagbo supporters. FRCI elements reportedly executed people suspected of participating in armed resistance following Gbagbo’s April 11 detention. In the Yopougon neighborhood of Abidjan, armed militia groups and security forces, loyal to Gbagbo and implicated in dozens of targeted killings of unarmed pro-Ouattara civilian supporters, continued to fight the FRCI. In the course of gaining control of the neighborhood, FRCI elements reportedly executed people suspected of participating in the fighting.

Until President Ouattara’s official inauguration in May, security forces, who largely supported former president Gbagbo, did not report to civilian authorities. Following the inauguration, violence significantly decreased, but there still were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of civilian control--particularly FRCI members ineligible for the unified military, armed pro-Gbagbo groups supported under the former regime, and endemic militia groups in the West. Dozos, or traditional hunters, and pro-Ouattara militia groups participated in reprisal killings, primarily in the western region of the country; although there was no confirmation of allegations that the Ouattara government provided financial, material, or logistical support to militia groups.

The greatest challenges are first that the Ivorian security forces have come primarily to terrorize, rather than to protect the civilian population, and second that inclusion into the army, gendarmerie, and the multiple militias in the country has become the primary means of employing potentially volatile unemployed young men. Members of all the armed services and all the militias, from the north and the south, have been credibly accused of abuses including rape, extrajudicial killings and torture.

The Republican Forces of Côte d'Ivoire ("FRCI") is the current name of the armed forces of Ivory Coast, which included the Forces Nouvelles de Côte d'Ivoire (FNCI), the political coalition that triumphed in the Second Ivorian Civil War. The FRCI were formerly known as the Armed Forces of the New Forces (FAFN). As of September 2011, the government was attempting to form what is called the FRCI, which aimed to merge 5,000 former rebels of the FRCI with 30,000 veterans of the former regular army (Forces de défense et de sécurité – FDS). The Forces Nouvelles (FAFN) position was that it would join a new army but will not 'return' to the Armed Forces of Cote d'Ivoire (FANCI).

The name change is still not enough. There was a need to change the behavior to break with the painful past. The army had certainly gone from FANCI to FRCI, but the elements that made up the troop are the same. At this level, much remained to be done. Starting with the simple elements of the withdrawal, soldiers roamed the streets of Abidjan, proudly wearing guns and fatigues as if to say to all passing that they participated in the war. The State must put an end to this "Yang" of the military in the streets and other hotspots of the economic capital and even across Ivory Coast. The military were myths, soldiers in the barracks, which had no direct contact with the people. At the time, FANCI, military leaders reigned not on patches of the city of Abidjan or in the regions. The advent of FANCI should therefore put an end to this com-zone system that had flourished in North Central and Western (CNO) zones during the crisis period.

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