Mutinous soldiers who have taken control of Bouake, Ivory Coast stand at a checkpoint in the city.
Mutinous soldiers who have taken control of Bouake, Ivory Coast stand at a checkpoint in the city.

Mutinous soldiers in Ivory Coast have killed one person and injured several others after using gunfire to disperse a march against their mutiny in Bouake, residents said.

Violence by some of the soldiers involved in a January mutiny demanding higher pay began Friday, a day after Ivorian television broadcast some of the mutinous soldiers meeting with President Alassane Ouattara and dropping their demand for unpaid bonuses.

Many took over the second-largest city of Bouake, and other cities including Daloa and Korhogo, to show they still demanded the rest of their bonuses promised after the January mutiny. Unrest in Abidjan was quickly controlled by the army.

A mutinous soldier is seen in Bouake, Ivory Coast.
A mutinous soldier is seen in Bouake, Ivory Coast.

ULTIMATUM FOR REBEL SOLDIERS

Ivory Coast’s Armed Forces chief of staff Sekou Toure said a military operation has been launched to bring order.

In a statement, he called on the mutinous soldiers to lay down arms, saying that those who continue to threaten civilians and defy authorities will face disciplinary action.

Residents were forced to flee or stay indoors because of the violence.
Residents were forced to flee or stay indoors because of the violence.

“A military operation is underway to restore order,” Toure said in a statement. It called on soldiers “to return to the barracks and lay down their arms.”

The mutinous soldiers are former rebels who helped put President Ouattara in power after his predecessor refused to cede office after losing the 2010 election. They have sought higher pay and better living conditions.

“EVERYONE IS FEARFUL”

Residents were forced to flee or stay indoors because of the violence.

“This morning, we united in the city to protest against being taken hostage by these soldiers. The mutinous soldiers shot at us, and we’ve registered several wounded who have all been taken to the hospital,” said Soumaila Timite, a Bouake resident.

Odile Kouame, one of the leaders of Sunday’s protest, called on the government to take action.

“They cannot abandon us,” he said. “Everyone is fearful.”

A former rebel who participated in the march was killed and his body is in the morgue, said Ouattara Mamadou, the spokesman for demobilised ex-rebels not in the army.

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