Ibrahim Coulibaly, also called IB, was killed in the attack of the FRCI, the new national army, against the Invisible Commando.
The former coup leader Ibrahim Coulibaly, head of an armed group called The Invisible Commando, was killed late Wednesday in Abidjan by the military forces of the Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara, told the Minister of Defense spokesman.
After FRCI operations to secure and pacify the districts of Abobo and Anyama (north), Coulibaly went to take refuge in a yard not far from a factory in PK -18 (north of Abobo), said Captain Leo Alla Kouakou.
In this yard, Ibrahim Coulibaly took hostage an entire family. The FRCI made warning shots twice to which he responded with gunfire. The FRCI have had no choice but to retaliate, and the counter-attack was fatal, added the spokesman.
The clash that took place around 20:00 (GMT) killed two soldiers and wounded several FRCI men, while seven died in the opposing camp, including IB himself, he said.
Commando invisible had contributed to the downfall of the former President Laurent Gbagbo on April 11th, destabilizing his regime by increasing control of the north in Abidjan at the beginning of the year.
This is a significant development in the security situation in Abidjan. The Invisible Commando, although it has greatly benefited Ouattara since the election crisis, did not seem to be fully willing to join the ranks after Gbagbo’s defeat. The important antagonisms between Ibrahim Coulibaly and Guillaume Soro may have played a role.
Ibrahim Coulibaly had been a troublemaker involved in all the military crisis the country has experienced. But his Invisible Commando also led the very first military actions against Gbagbo’s army, and participated to some extent in removing the former administration. This is a strong stance for the new army, and even for Ouattara. When the new army was criticized for relying too heavily on France and the UN to defeat Gbagbo, they are now scoring a major victory against Coulibaly’s militia, which was strong of about a thousand heavily equipped men according to most reports.
It is too early to draw conclusions out of the “Affaire IB”, but the fact that Ouattara remained extremely strict in the negotiations with the Invisible Commando and acted fast and strong may be a statement for his Presidency. He spotted the problems from the inefficient former army, the FANCI, and replaced it with the new FRCI which seems to have already some expertise in urban guerilla and some organization. It removed in days a force that the former army had been fighting without any success for months (granted, many were quick to leave the Invisible Commando when it started opposing the new authorities). The future will tell us if it is disciplined enough for a real Republican Army.