Ivory Coast:Loyalist guards kill rebel soldier as mutiny over pay reignites

A mutinous soldier in Ivory Coast has been killed by elite loyalist forces in the administrative capital, Yamoussoukro, marking the first casualty since a revolt by soldiers broke out over wages on January 5.

“The mutinous soldier was killed by the Republican Guard in front of their camp” in Yamoussoukro, a military source was quoted in a Tuesday report by AFP, which said he spoke on condition of anonymity.

The original uprising, which began earlier in the month in the second largest city of Bouake, ended last week in an agreement with the government as soldiers involved in the initial mutiny began to receive back payments on Tuesday.

However, other soldiers cruised through the streets of Yamoussoukro and Bouake later on Tuesday, enraged that they were excluded from the accord. They fired bullets into the air as terrified residents cleared the streets.

Witnesses said military police in multiple cities also fired their weapons. The violence signaled that the government had failed to end the unrest over soldiers’ pay.

dcBoth the soldiers and military police were demanding large bonuses similar to those the government agreed to offer to the rebellious troops last week, according to an expert on the Ivorian army who has been in contact with the soldiers.

The revolt that began in Bouake was led by former rebels who backed President Alassane Ouattara in a 2011 postelection conflict that claimed more than 3,000 lives.

Among the demands made by the rebelling soldiers were bonuses of nearly $20,000 for more than 8,000 troops.

According to the report, the mutineers said on Friday that the government had agreed to pay them, and at least some soldiers in Bouake began receiving bank transfers Monday and Tuesday.

However, the government has only confirmed that a deal was reached, refusing to elaborate on specific details.

In Bouake, meanwhile, soldiers encircled a military police post after police officers fired their weapons, according to a military police official, whose name was not mentioned in the report.

By Africafrique and agencies

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