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Gun fire hits Bouake, Daloa in Cote d’Ivoire

BBC
The government has called on the troops to return to barracks
The government has called on the troops to return to barracks

The mutineers seized weapons from two police stations in the country's second city, Bouake, and took up positions at its entry points, according to reports.

Gunfire has also reportedly been heard in western Daloa town.  Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara took power in 2011 at the end of a civil war.

Bouake was at the centre of the rebellion to oust his predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, who is on trial at the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes.

Soldiers armed with AK-47 fired at the offices of the state broadcaster in the city, and had seized control of Bouake's western entrance, a resident, who asked not to be identified, told the BBC.

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.

Soldiers are reportedly also on the streets of the main town in the north, Korhogo.  The reason for the unrest is unclear, but the soldiers appear to be protesting over pay, AFP news agency reports.

"It's a mutiny by former fighters integrated into the army who are demanding bonuses of 5 million CFA francs ($8,000; £6,500) each plus a house," a soldier who asked to remain anonymous told AFP.

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.

Most of the soldiers were former rebels who were integrated into the army after the civil war, he added. The rebels swept into the main city Abidjan from their stronghold of Bouake in 2011, helping Mr Ouattara take power.

 


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