Abidjan - Four people were killed in ethnic clashes in Sikensi, a town near the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan, local authorities said on Monday.

The clashes on Sunday and Monday saw indigenous Abidji pitted against ethnic Malinke hailing from the north and left 13 people injured, an official told reporters.

The wounded were admitted to hospital in Sikensi or taken to Abidjan 60km away, the source said.

Residents said a fight broke out on Saturday between a young Abidji and an army soldier, leaving the Abidji injured.

Simmering tensions between the Abidji and Malinke then boiled over into clashes, some involving machetes, witnesses said.

Calm had returned by Monday afternoon, a local security source said.

Junior Defence Minister Paul Koffi Koffi went to the scene and met local officials and community leaders, members of his entourage said.

“The Abidji say the Malinke and the FRCI (army) are the same,” a young Malinke woman said.

“The people rose up because they've had it. It's not the first incident with the FRCI. We don't want them here anymore,” an Abidji said.

“There was a lot of damage. Some diners went up in flames,” an official said.

Clashes, some deadly, involving the rebels-turned-government forces of the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI) have become common in the country since the end of the 2010-11 post-election crisis that left more than 3 000 people dead.

Six people were killed two weekends ago in clashes between soldiers and residents of the central-western town of Vavoua.

The government of new President Alassane Ouattara announced steps to restore “discipline” in the FRCI, whose main operatives are former rebels of the northern New Forces who backed him during the crisis.

Ivory Coast was plunged into bloody chaos when former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in a November 2010 poll.

Ouattara has vowed to unite the country, once a beacon of stability in West Africa, after a near decade of civil war. - Sapa-AFP