Shooting in Ivory Coast as troops mutiny

Soldiers are still in control of Ivory Coast’s second city after mutinying over pay.

The soldiers seized control of Bouake in the early hours of Friday, before protests spread to Daloa, Daoukro, Odienne and Korhogo.

A local MP says they are asking for $8,000 (£6,500) and a house each.

As night fell, the soldiers had left the streets of every town apart from Bouake, according to news agency Agence France Presse (AFP).

The government has appealed for calm, while President Alassane Ouattara convened a crisis meeting of his military chiefs.

Defence Minister Alain-Richard Donwah called on troops to return to barracks so that “lasting solutions” could be found, state media reported.

The mutineers are understood to mainly be former rebels who integrated into the army following the end of the war.

The rebels swept into the main city Abidjan from their stronghold of Bouake in 2011, helping Mr Ouattara take power after his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo – now on trial at the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes – refused to accept defeat in elections the previous year.

Earlier on Friday soldiers armed with AK-47 assault rifles fired at the offices of the state broadcaster in the city, and had seized control of Bouake’s western entrance, a resident told the BBC.

An MP for Bouake, Bema Fofana, told the BBC that the soldiers did not appear to have a leader or spokesman, making it difficult to negotiate with them.

A teacher in Bouake, Ami Soro, said the city was deserted, Reuters news agency reports.

“Men in balaclavas are patrolling the city on motorcycles or in cars. They aren’t attacking residents… They told us to stay at home,” she is quoted as saying.

 

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Source: BBC

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