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Ivory Coast soldiers shoot in air in Bouake over bonus pay dispute

Reuters , Friday 12 May 2017
Views: 2081
Views: 2081

Soldiers in Ivory Coast's second city Bouake fired their guns into the air on Friday to protest an agreement some of their colleagues made over bonus payments, witnesses said.

The protest comes a day after a spokesman for soldiers in the commercial capital, Abidjan, said that talks with President Alassane Ouattara had led them to drop their demands for further bonus payments.

That pledge would ease pressure on government finances, which have been squeezed by a sharp decline in world cocoa prices and earlier payments to the mutinous soldiers.

"There was shooting all night because people are not happy with what their colleagues did in Abidjan," said a leader of the mutineers who declined to be identified. He said they would hold a meeting to decide on their next steps.

There was no indication the shooting caused any casualties.

The Bouake soldiers are mostly former rebels who battled for years to bring Ouattara to power. They seized control of the city in January in an uprising that spread, forcing the government to capitulate to some of their demands.

Ivory Coast has emerged from a 2002-2011 conflict as one of the world's fastest-growing economies. But the mutinies show that divisions persist, particularly in a military assembled from ex-rebel and loyalist fighters. 

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