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Last Updated: Monday, 28 April, 2003, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Ivorian rebel leader 'killed'
Felix Doh
Doh seems to have been killed by former allies

Rebels in Ivory Coast say one of their most senior leaders has been killed.

Felix Doh went missing in an ambush over the weekend in the west of the country, reportedly staged by mercenaries from Liberia and Sierra Leone who had been fighting alongside the rebels.

His body has been found, according to Guillaume Soro, leader of a different rebel group and communications minister in a power-sharing government.

The BBC's Paul Welsh in Abidjan says that the peace process with the government is unlikely to be affected because they seem to have had no part in the attack.

Mr Doh led Mpigo, the Popular Movement of Ivory Coast's Far West, based near the Liberian border.

Looting

An Mpigo minister in the power-sharing government believes that he is dead, reports the French news agency, AFP.

IVORY COAST CONFLICT
Hundreds killed
More than a million displaced
3,000 French peacekeepers
Nation divided in two
Power sharing deal still to work

"Sergeant Doh was reported missing Saturday and late yesterday (Sunday) I received word of his death from authorised sources," Roger Banchi told AFP.

The mercenaries were told to leave the group because they were harassing the local population and funding their activities by looting.

A statement from Mr Soro's Ivory Coast Patriotic Movement (MPCI) rebels blames Mr Doh's death on notorious Sierra Leone rebel Sam Bockarie, alias "Mosquito", who has been indicted by a United Nations-backed Special Court in Sierra Leone for alleged war crimes.

Over the weekend, the leaders of Ivory Coast and Liberia met to discuss restoring stability to their volatile border region, where rebel groups from both countries have staged attacks.

Hardline

Our correspondent says Mr Doh's reported killing is a dangerous development for the country.

More fragmentation of the rebel movements and in-fighting raise the prospect of the conflict here turning into a Liberian-style war - with numerous rebel movements fighting amongst themselves as well as taking on the government.

Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo
Gbagbo has signed a peace deal with Ivorian rebels

Members of all three Ivorian rebel groups and opposition parties have taken their seats in a power-sharing government mediated by the French in order to end the fighting.

Our correspondent says that Mr Doh was the most outspoken and hardline rebel leader and still talked about marching on the commercial capital, Abidjan, while others were talking peace with the government.

He used to be a bodyguard with Robert Guei, who staged Ivory Coast's only coup in 1999.

Mr Guei was killed in the early days of the uprising last September.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC's Arnaud Zajtman reports for Focus on Africa
"'Better to die than be humiliated' was Felix Doh's motto."



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