In Summary

  • One person died Sunday after mutinous soldiers took to the streets in Ivory Coast's central second city Bouake as fresh tensions gripped the world's top cocoa grower.
  • The two groups are clashing over government payments. Under a deal negotiated with the government in January, struck after the ex-rebel soldiers' first mutiny, they were to be paid bonuses of 12 million CFA francs (18,000 euros) each, with an initial payment of five million francs that month.
  • But the government has struggled to pay the soldiers the promised money, while the non-military ex-fighters are now demanding their own government payments.

BOUAKÉ

One person died Sunday after mutinous soldiers took to the streets in Ivory Coast's central second city Bouake as fresh tensions gripped the world's top cocoa grower.

The victim was among five men and a mother-of-three who were hospitalised after being struck by warning shots fired to keep residents inside their homes, an AFP photographer saw.

About 15 others were treated for minor injuries.

"(He), Issouf Diawara, finally died from his bullet wounds," his brother Souleymane Diawara told AFP. "I am a distraught man."

Diawara was hit on Saturday amid clashes between former rebels, some of whom have now been integrated into the army, and those who have disarmed but not integrated.

CLASHING

The two groups are clashing over government payments.

Under a deal negotiated with the government in January, struck after the ex-rebel soldiers' first mutiny, they were to be paid bonuses of 12 million CFA francs (18,000 euros) each, with an initial payment of five million francs that month.

The remainder was to be paid starting this month, according to rebel sources.

But the government has struggled to pay the soldiers the promised money, while the non-military ex-fighters are now demanding their own government payments.

The soldiers revolted over the bonus payments by taking to the streets on Friday and blocked access to Bouake, which served as the rebel headquarters after a failed 2002 coup which split Ivory Coast in half and led to years of unrest.

DISGRUNTLED

Several Bouake residents were beaten by patrolling renegade soldiers.

Another person was injured by soldiers rebelling in Korhogo, the main city in the north.

Armed forces chief of staff, General Sekou Toure, said in a statement Sunday that "a military operation is underway to re-establish order" and made a televised appeal to the disgruntled soldiers to return to barracks.

Later the protesting soldiers reopened access to Bouake, while still insisting on the promised money and refusing to hand in their guns.

"We want the money, that's all. There's nothing to discuss," one of them said, after firing his Kalashnikov rifle into the air.

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