IVORY COAST: Côte D’Ivoire Restructures Armed Forces, Retires 4,000 Soldiers

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Nearly a thousand Ivorian soldiers have benefited from a voluntary plan for the departure of the army. An announcement made last week by the Council of Ministers. This is the first major act of the military programming law launched in 2016.

These early retirements are part of a major plan to restructure the Ivorian armed forces launched in 2016 and this first wave comes seven months after the latest mutinies that have shaken the country. The stated goal is to cause the departure of more than 4,000 soldiers by 2020 to reduce the army’s current strength of 23,000 men, rejuvenate and professionalize it.

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Degreasing a bloated and therefore expensive army is a necessity, according to experts. ”  It’s about revitalizing the defense tool,” says Lassina Diarra, defense specialist at Felix Houphouet-Boigny University. To improve the living and working conditions of the soldiers. That we have a professional army that can project itself for security operations both internally and externally  “.

Reduce staffing, but above all, restore order in the chain of command. According to a source close to the Ministry of Defense, the Ivorian army has 70% of NCOs, while this ratio should be 25%. Involved, massive promotions during the integration into the army in 2011 of former rebels and especially following the mutinies of 2014.

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According to this source, the starting price offered would be 15 million CFA francs, or nearly 23,000 euros. A sum that may seem consistent, but which aims to encourage this intermediate body to take the plunge, while allowing the army to save money on the longer term in payment of balances.

The strategy seems rewarding: of the 991 soldiers in this first wave, 634 are non-commissioned officers for only three officers.

For the Ivorian researcher Arthur Banga, the implementation of this plan was accelerated by mutinies at the beginning of the year. ”  The idea was to find a way out for those among the soldiers who no longer wanted to be in the army and refocus on the training and discipline of those who still wish to remain in the military. Ivorians,  “he analyzes.

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Nobody is targeted, says some sources to the ministry, explaining that these volunteers are globally old, that some are sick and are as well from the camp of the ex-rebels as that of the former Defense and Security Forces (FDS) .

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