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Mouvement Patriotique de Côte-d'Ivoire (MPCI)

The Mouvement Patriotique de Côte-d'Ivoire (MPCI) launched a rebellion on the night of September 18-19, 2002 against the government of President Gbagbo.

Initially composed of as many as 800 soldiers, the movement mutinied before dawn after reportedly learning that some members of the armed forces would be sacked and a number of them demobilized. It was reported that a number of those concerned were followers of the General Robert Guei, the instigator of the 1999 military coup who eventually lost power as a result of popular elections.

Among the group's demands have been the resignation of President Gbagbo and the holding of new elections. Though the group has insisted that it had no political connections, one of the group's demands was for all men who were once in the Ivorian army under General Guei to be reinstated immediately (General Guei died during the insurrection).

The MPCI recognized that planning for the insurrection had started as soon as two years prior, when Gbagbo initially came to power.

The government of President Gbadbo has charged the movement to be supported by a neighboring country. Some leaders of the rebel group come from the same northern area as Mr. Alassane Ouattara, Ivory Coast's former prime minister. He, a muslim, was barred from running during the previous presidential elections on the controversial grounds that he was originally from neighboring Burkina Faso and therefore not an Ivorian. This has led to speculation on the part of the government that Ouattarra or Burkina Faso might have been behind the uprising.

By mid-October 2002, the MPCI was reported to be in control of more than half of the country, including most of the cocoa fields. The group was in control of among others, Bouake, the country's second largest city.

Most of of the rebels are said to be from the northen Dioulas ethnic group. President Gbagbo is of the southern Bete tribe.

It met on December 23, 2002, with the MJP and the MPIGO rebel groups to announce an alliance against French troops located in the country, should they stand in their way.



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