16 May 2017

Cote d'Ivoire: Ivory Coast Rebel Troops Say They Accept Deal to End Mutiny

Photo: Human Rights Watch
Renegade soldiers carried out several days of nationwide mutiny.

A four-day mutiny by ex-rebel soldiers in Ivory Coast has ended after they accepted a government offer, the mutineers say. The rebellion paralyzed cities and towns across the country.

Renegade soldiers in Ivory Coast who have carried out a four-day nationwide mutiny said on Tuesday that they were ending their rebellion after accepting an amended offer from the government on bonus payments.

"We accept the government's proposal ... We are returning to barracks," said Sergeant Seydou Kone, one of the revolt's spokesmen, in the country's second largest city, Bouake.

Kone said some mutineers had already received the bonuses they had demanded.

Initial rejection

The government had offered an immediate payment of 5 million CFA francs (7,500 euros) and an extra 2 million to be paid at the end of next month, other spokesmen said.

The mutineers had rejected an earlier deal announced by Defense Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi on Monday, but leaders of the uprising said the offer had been amended overnight.

The mutiny was started by some 8,400 soldiers, mostly former rebel fighters who had helped President Alassane Ouattara to power before being integrated into the army. It was the latest in a string of protests.

Financial troubles

After a mutiny in January, the government had agreed to pay the ex-rebels bonuses of 12 million CFA francs (18,000 euros) each. However, after giving the soldiers a partial payment of 5 million francs, the government failed to follow up with the remainder this month as promised.

The protest that ended on Tuesday was triggered when a group of the January mutineers apologized to Ouattara and the head of the army last week on national television, saying they would not press further for the bonuses.

The crisis left one person dead after the mutinous soldiers fired on residents protesting against their revolt in Bouake.

The government has been struggling to find the money for the bonuses, with finances severely strained by the fall in the world price for cocoa, the country's main export.

tj/jm (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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