Ivory Coast Mutinous Soldiers, Security Forces Clash Over Pay
A group of mutinous soldiers in the Ivory Coast clashed with security forces in the northern city of Korhogo, a day after after talks with military commanders over bonuses deadlocked.
The conflict on Saturday was preceded by shots fired into the air by members of the army group called 2600 in barracks at the capital Abidjan and Korhogo to protest military leaders telling them they won’t be paid bonuses due to unavailability of funds.
The situation is “under control and calm,” Minister of Defense Alain Donwahi said by phone. Three soldiers in the group died and two members of security forces were wounded, according to Abidjan-based news website Pole Afrique.
Ivory Coast soldiers have mutinied several times this year as they demand to be paid for supporting President Alassane Ouattara in a decade-long conflict that brought him to power in 2011. The rebel soldiers who became part of the national army the same year, in a group called 2600, want to be paid bonuses just like other members of the military.
“We are claiming bonuses as our colleagues who got 12 millions CFA francs,” Corporal Moussa Bamba, a member of 2600, said by phone. “Yesterday, our talks with army commanders failed. They told us, government has no more funds. We were angry.”
Gunmen dressed in army uniform attacked a police station at Abobo, in the northern suburb of Abidjan, Pole Afrique reported earlier Saturday. It is unclear whether the attacks were linked with the mutineers.
By Baudelaire Mieu