The Ivory Coast’s military is to be reduced by 1,000 troops by the end of the year as part of an effort to rationalise a costly army, Reuters reports.

Ivory Coast government spokesman Bruno Kone confirmed the cut following a cabinet meeting, adding that 997 soldiers had accepted voluntary retirement as part of an initiative to conform to “accepted standards”, partly by reducing the ratio of non-commissioned officers to lower ranks.

The soldiers being to be taken out of action include three senior officers, 634 non-commissioned officers and 354 regular foot soldiers.

There are more than 25,000 troops in the West African country out of a population of 24 million.

The Francophone country, which is West Africa’s biggest economy, endured two army mutinies this year over payment issues which forced the government into increasing salaries.

President Alassan Ouattara won a disputed election in 2010 but incumbent Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down and the Ivory Coast is still recovering from its civil war with the army continuing to challenge Ouattara’s authority.

- African News Agency (ANA)