Government, Soldiers Agree To End Mutiny In Ivory Coast

A delegation of mutinous Ivorian soldiers stand behind Defence Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi. Photo Credit: Yahoo
A delegation of mutinous Ivorian soldiers stand behind Defence Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi. Photo Credit: Yahoo

Soldiers in Ivory Coast have accepted a deal to end a five-day mutiny over pay.

The government offered the mutineers an immediate bonus payment of five million CFA francs – about $8,400 – for the 8,400 mutineers and a further two million CFA francs at the end of June.

The soldiers, who had blocked roads in major cities in the country since Friday, have now agreed to return to their barracks, reports Reuters news agency.

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One person was killed by a stray bullet on Sunday after the mutinous troops seized control of Bouaké, the country’s second largest city.

The former rebels, now embedded in the army, who fought for years to get President Alassane Ouattara to power, were angry at the scrapping of a deal to give them back pay and bonuses.

The government offered them a new deal on Monday night, which they rejected, but on Tuesday the government finally gave in, giving them exactly what they want.

The mutineers helped the president take office in 2011. The former rebels make up about 8,400 of Ivory Coast’s 22,000-strong army.

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On Sunday, armed forces’ chief of staff General Sékou Touré vowed to end the mutiny, but the mutineers said they would fight back if loyalist troops intervened.

Mutineers at the army headquarters in Abidjan’s financial district, near the presidential palace, had been shooting in the air, forcing schools and offices to shut.

Gunfire was also heard at the Akouedo barracks, in a suburb where many middle-class Ivorians and expatriates live.

Pro-government forces responded by closing roads in the city, while French troops were deployed to guard French-owned transport firm Bollore, a major investor in Ivory Coast.

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Other areas hit by unrest included San Pedro, the biggest cocoa exporting city in the world, and Daloa, a major trading hub in Ivory Coast’s cocoa belt.

The mutiny raised fears of a resurgence of the violence seen during Ivory Coast’s 10-year civil war, which ended in 2011.

Pro-Ouattara forces from Bouaké swept into Abidjan at the time, helping Ouattara take office after his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in elections.

Many of the rebels were rewarded for their backing by being given jobs in the army.