ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast has reduced the size of its army by more than 2,000 soldiers as part of a plan to cut costs and bring under control a force that last year launched two mutinies.
Government spokesman Bruno Kone said after a cabinet meeting on Thursday that 2,168 soldiers had accepted voluntary retirement in an initiative to conform to “accepted standards”, partly by reducing the ratio of non-commissioned officers to lower ranks.
The army’s size is confidential but security sources estimate there are more than 25,000 troops in a country with a population of about 24 million.
Francophone West Africa’s biggest economy suffered successive waves of army mutinies last year that damaged its reputation among investors and forced the government to agree to costly pay rises.
Late last year Ivory Coast cut its armed forces by about 1,000 troops. The latest group includes three officers, 1,460 non-commissioned officers and 705 regular foot soldiers, Kone told reporters.
Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Edward McAllister and Matthew Mpoke Bigg