ABIDJAN — Four people were killed and 15 were injured in inter-ethnic clashes on Monday near the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan, a defence ministry spokesman said Monday.
The clashes pitting indigenous Abidji against ethnic Malinke hailing from the north and rebels-turned-government forces claimed the lives of two soldiers and two youths, Leon Alla Kouakou told AFP.
He said one of the injured was in serious condition.
The wounded were hospitalised in Sikensi or taken to Abidjan some 60 kilometres (35 miles) away.
The violence erupted Monday when an Abidji youth clashed with a soldier of the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI) and was killed in Sikensi.
As news of the death broke, residents of a nearby village, Katadji, “attacked an FRCI post: one soldier was killed and the other succumbed to his injuries,” the spokesman said.
In Sikensi, the unrest took an inter-ethnic turn, with an Abidji youth knifing to death a young Malinke man. A resident said the local Abidji view the Malinke as the “same thing as the FRCI.”
Clashes, some deadly, involving the FRCI have become common in the country since the end of the 2010-11 post-election crisis that left more than 3,000 people dead.
Six people were killed two weekends ago in clashes between soldiers and residents of the central-western town of Vavoua.
The government of new President Alassane Ouattara announced steps to restore “discipline” in the FRCI, whose main operatives are former rebels of the northern New Forces who backed him during the crisis.
Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, was plunged into bloody chaos when former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in a November 2010 poll.
Ouattara has vowed to unite the country, once a beacon of stability in west Africa, after a near decade of civil war.