- Former Ivorian rebels have transferred their rebel stronghold of Bouake in northern part of the country to the government as the country gears for national polls scheduled for November this year.
According to local reports, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, who is also the New Forces (FN) leader, presided over the handover ceremony held on Tuesday in Bouake, which has been under the control of the former rebel group since September 2002.
The power transfer came two weeks after Mr Soro officially announced that Cote d'Ivoire will hold the much-anticipated presidential elections on 29 November.
"This is not a symbolic ceremony,” Mr Soro said emphasising that the handing over function is an embodiment of the political will of signatories of the Ouagadougou accord to achieve reunification. The central government and former rebels signed the peace deal in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 2007.
The transfer of power which was set in January under the latest United Nations-backed peace pact signed at the end of 2008, was twice postponed, and is expected to relinquish rebels control, restoring government authority throughout the West African state.
The breakthrough came in December, when both sides signed their fourth accord in Ouagadougou on the reunification of the army and administration, under which, 5,000 ex-combatants will be integrated into the national army of defense.
Ivorian polls were originally scheduled for October 2005, but the country failed to go ahead with the planned schedule due to a division between the rebel north and government-controlled south, separated by a buffer zone patrolled by UN and French peacekeepers.
The Independent Electoral Commission recently announced that over 6 million nationals have been identified and registered for the upcoming election, more than half the expected voters.
An 8,000-strong United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire is still deployed in the country to maintain peace and order.
Mr Soro was named prime minister by Gbagbo under the 2007 Ouagadougou accord. But twists and turns were reported in the peace process over the sensitive issues of disarmament and voter identification.
Côte d'Ivoire, a leading cocoa and diamond exporter in western Africa, was split in two after a botched coup attempt by New Forces (FN) rebels in 2002, with the north remaining under FN control.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.