Ivory Coast: We are “open” to investigating crimes

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Ivory Coast’s justice minister says the government is open to investigating top security officials accused by United Nations experts of raking in millions of dollars through “warlord-style predatory economic activities.”

Gnenema Coulibaly said on Monday that the government would need to see proof, but that “the government cannot protect someone who steals.”

The allegations were published last Thursday in a report by the U.N. Group of Experts which named several former commanders of the New Forces rebel group.

The New Forces helped put President Alassane Ouattara in office during a five-month power struggle with former President Laurent Gbagbo, who lost the November 2010 runoff vote but refused to step down.

The report accuses the suspects of extortion and illegal smuggling of resources including cocoa and timber.

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