Soldiers demand for pay hike in Ivory Coast
06 Jan 2017 - 21:28
Bouake: Soldiers demanding more pay and housing rose up in several cities around Ivory Coast yesterday, raiding arms depots and taking control of streets, residents and officials said.
The uprising began in Bouake, the country's second city and onetime rebel stronghold, where heavy weapons fire was heard in the streets, before spreading to two other major urban centres.
In Bouake, soldiers "broke into the armoury of the 3rd Battalion", arming themselves with rocket-launchers and other weapons mounted on pickup trucks, a military source said.
Troops also took to the streets in the large western town of Daloa and at Korhogo in the north of Ivory Coast, Africa's leading cocoa-producing nation, according to residents and army sources.
"It's a mutiny by former (rebel) fighters integrated into the army who are demanding bonuses of $8,000 each plus a house," an officer in Bouake said, asking to remain anonymous.
But one of the soldiers said the demands were even higher.
"We're not asking for five million CFA francs, but rather for 10 million each and a villa," the soldier said.
"If necessary, we will not return to the barracks."