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Cote d'Ivoire Internal Security Organization and Forces
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
    << Back to Cote d'Ivoire National Security

    Responsibility for internal security in Côte d'Ivoire was shared by three ministries in a coordinated, multilayered pattern adapted from the French colonial system. The Ministry of Interior was responsible primarily for territorial and local administration and included local police forces; the Ministry of Internal Security was charged with state security and national police functions; and the Ministry of Defense and Maritime Affairs (primarily through the National Gendarmerie) provided paramilitary forces throughout the country in coordination with the respective regional and local authorities.

    The Ministry of Interior, as chartered by decrees of January 1961 and May 1962, had broad regulatory functions. As part of its security-related responsibilities, it regulated public associations, gun control, access to public buildings, emigration and immigration, foreign propaganda, foreign visitors, and passport controls. It also directed the National Security Police, supervised traditional chieftaincies, and administered territorial subdivisions.

    Although the National Security Police was transferred to the Ministry of Internal Security in 1976, the other functions of Ministry of Interior have remained essentially intact. In February 1981, Leon Konan Koffi replaced Alexis Thierry-Lebbe as minister of interior. As of 1985, its constituent elements included the minister's cabinet and six directorates covering territorial administration, local communities, financial affairs, personnel and manpower programs, the National Printing Office, and the National Archives. It had a staff of about 4,900 and an operating budget of CFA F13.3 billion, or 3.2 percent of the government's budget.

    Territorial administration remained the ministry's most important function pertaining to public order and internal security. The prefects and subprefects executed government policies and represented the interests of the local population (see Local Government , ch. 4). Each prefecture and municipality also was responsible for maintaining order; executing government laws, regulations, and policies; and administrating the police. Moreover, the prefects and subprefects were empowered to call upon the armed forces if needed and to requisition persons and property in matters of public safety. Prefects were authorized to detain for fortyeight hours anyone apprehended for crimes and offenses involving state security.

    The Ministry of Internal Security was established as part of a governmental reorganization in March 1976 to consolidate the national police and state security functions that had formerly been assigned to the Ministry of Interior. In November 1983, Brigadier General Oumar N'Daw, who had been the high commander of the National Gendarmerie for nine years, succeeded Colonel Gaston Ouassenan Koné, who served as minister of internal security from 1976 to 1983. In 1985 the ministry was reorganized into the following groups: the minister's cabinet; eight directorates (National Security Police, Regional Security, Inspector General of Police Services, Materials, Financial Affairs, Personnel, Police Economics and Finances, and Judicial Affairs); the National Police Academy, and an intelligence service. In 1985 the ministry had a staff of about 5,600, and its operating budget of CFA F11.7 billion (or 2.8 percent of the government's budget) represented a 5.8 percent increase over its 1984 operating budget.

    The National Security Police was an investigative bureau and national police force with a strength of about 5,300 in 1987. It enforced law and order and provided special police services. The various directorates of the National Security Police were responsible for public security, internal and cross-frontier traffic, counterespionage, intelligence, criminal investigation, narcotics and drug control, and the administration of sixteen national police districts. In larger towns and cities, the National Security Police cooperated with the municipal police forces; in the smaller communities and rural areas, it worked with the local police and the National Gendarmerie. The ministry's Regional Security Directorate included three separate divisions grouping the commissariats for subprefects and major urban centers and the Frontier Police. The Special Police, Frontier Police, and the Abidjan Port Police were grouped under the Central Commissariat.

    The National Securit Police Public Security Directorate consisted of the uniformed national police and the Companies for the Security of the Republic (Compagnies Republicaines de Securité- -CRS), which were at the immediate disposal of the minister of internal security for deployment throughout the country. In emergencies, prefects could call upon the minister to use any CRS in his or her jurisdiction. The CRS were most frequently used to handle certain kinds of local emergencies and rescue operations. They also cooperated with the local National Gendarmerie forces and the Frontier Police. The Intelligence Directorate was responsible for collecting intelligence on security-related political, economic, and social events (such as industrial strikes and antigovernment demonstrations). The Counterespionage Directorate was responsible for protecting the state against treason and espionage. The Criminal Investigation Directorate coordinated and directed crime-fighting efforts, maintained the central files, and served as liaison with international police through the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).

    Before independence and until the National Police Academy (Ecole Nationale de Police) was opened in 1967, police training consisted of a six-month course given at the Federal School in Dakar, Senegal. By 1988 about 6,000 police officers had been trained at the National Police Academy; in the 1980s, the academy annually graduated about 450 officers, who were then assigned to the Police Forces of the Ministry of Internal Security. Like its military counterparts, the National Police Academy also served as a regional training center for francophone Africa and has graduated officers from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Niger, and Senegal.

    The academy's basic course of study varied from six months to two years (depending on the student's rank) and included forensic medicine, judicial procedure, criminal investigation, criminology and criminal psychology, police administration, computer technology, and communications. Admission was by direct recruitment or entrance examinations. Candidates for commissioner were required to have credits toward a law degree to gain entrance and to complete their law degree in order to graduate. Candidates who failed to obtain the law degree within two years were admitted to the police officers corps. Commissioners also were recruited from among police officers who fulfilled length-of-service requirements set by police ordinance. Police officer candidates, who also underwent a two-year training program, could be admitted directly to the academy with a bachelor's degree or were recruited by examination from among police officers with three years' service. Finally, police officers were recruited from among qualified Ivoirian nationals who had completed elementary school.

    The third pillar of internal security, the National Gendarmerie, consisted of a headquarters staff, four legions (corresponding to the four military regions) and a professional training academy, the Gendarmerie School (Ecole de Gendarmerie). This national constabulary force was formed in October 1960, replacing the Guard of the Republic that had been established in 1958. In 1988 Colonel Koffi Botty was the high commander of the National Gendarmerie, having replaced Brigadier General N'daw in 1983. The National Gendarmerie was responsible for defending rural areas and maintaining domestic order, thereby complementing the conventional tactical capabilities of the regional military commands. Its effective strength of 1,500 in the late 1960s doubled to 3,000 in the early 1970s, and in 1987 it was estimated at 4,500. The headquarters included an intelligence bureau; administrative and training center; bureaus of logistics, personnel, and budget planning; and a security and foreign liaison division.

    The four National Gendarmerie legions each had a general staff, detached companies that were deployed in and around the major towns and population centers in their respective prefectures, and a small number of mobile squads for rapid reaction and general support.

    Before 1960 auxiliaries and auxiliary students trained in Dakar. In 1960 an officer instruction center was created in Abidjan. In 1961 the National Gendarmerie set up its own academy, the Gendarmerie School, in Abidjan. The school trained NCOs (recruited from among the police and other qualified persons) and constables (recruited from among qualified students). The training period lasted about eleven months, at the end of which graduating constables received a police aptitude certificate. NCOs received an equivalent diploma. Students received instruction in both police techniques and military training. The academy also offered eightweek in-service training courses for NCOs and motorcycle police. The academy has graduated a large number of NCOs but only a few officers. The 1983 graduating class included about 250 NCOs and 8 officers, bringing the academy's total number of graduates to 77 officers and 6,062 NCOs, which included 113 Burkinabé NCOs who underwent training between 1967 and 1969.

    Data as of November 1988

    NOTE: The information regarding Cote d'Ivoire on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Cote d'Ivoire Internal Security Organization and Forces information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Cote d'Ivoire Internal Security Organization and Forces should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

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