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Friday, 2 February, 2001, 16:53 GMT
Ivory Coast alleges fresh coup plans

The Interior Minister of Ivory Coast, Emile Boga Doudou, has been explaining the reason for the arrest yesterday of a senior aide to the opposition leader, Alassane Ouattara.

In an interview published in the government daily newspaper Fraternite Matin, the minister said arms and ammunition had been discovered in the house of the arrested man, Jean-Jacques Bechio.

He said Mr Bechio, a former minister, was overheard speaking by telephone to Mr Ouattara from a public telephone booth, saying that they were ready to launch a coup at the weekend.

Mr Boga Doudou said that while he personally had not heard the contents of the alleged conversation, it tallied with the arms discovery. The minister said the police had no warrant to search Mr Bechio's house.

The government believes Mr Ouattara's party, the Rally of Republicans, was behind a foiled coup attempt last month.

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