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Saturday, 7 January 2017

Several Gunfired as Ivory Coast soldiers mutiny spreads to Abidjan

A mutiny by Ivory Coast soldiers over pay has spread to the commercial capital Abidjan, with soldiers taking over the country's army headquarters.

They fired in the air as they took control of the base in the city's Plateau district. The mutiny began on Friday in the central city of Bouake.

It then spread to a number of military camps around the country.

Defence Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi has gone to Bouake to discuss the protesters' demands.

An MP in the city said the soldiers wanted $8,000 and a house each.

The BBC's Alex Duval Smith in Ivory Coast says the mutiny brings back memories of Ivory Coast's 10-year civil war, which ended in 2011.
Some of the mutineers are thought to be former rebels who joined the army after the conflict. The rebels were based in Bouake.

On Saturday army mutinying soldiers took over the military HQ in Plateau after army chiefs had already fled.

Ivory Coast profile

Earlier in the day, firing was heard at the military base in Akouedo, on the eastern edge of Abidjan, which is home to parachute commandos that are considered loyal to President Alassane Ouattara.

Similar protests have been reported in the cities of Man, Daloa, Daoukro, Odienne and Korhogo.

The rebels swept into Abidjan from Bouake in 2011, helping Mr Ouattara take power after his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo - now on trial at the International Criminal Court - refused to accept defeat in elections the previous year.

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