News ID: 192905
Published: 0643 GMT May 16, 2017

Ivory Coast soldiers accept deal to end mutiny

Ivory Coast soldiers accept deal to end mutiny

The leaders of a nationwide military mutiny in Ivory Coast accepted a government proposal on bonus payments and agreed to return to barracks, ending their revolt, two spokesmen for the soldiers told Reuters on Tuesday.

Neither Ivory Coast's defense minister nor the government spokesman was immediately available to confirm details of the agreement, but a Reuters witness said the soldiers in Bouake, the epicenter of the uprising and Ivory Coast's second largest city, had withdrawn into their bases.

Some mutineers had received their bonuses under the agreement, Sergeant Seydou Kone, one of the revolt’s spokesmen said.

Cocoa exporters at the port of Abidjan resumed business after a one-day closure, and banks also reopened.

The renegade soldiers, who have paralyzed cities and towns across the country since Friday, rejected an earlier deal announced by Defense Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi late on Monday.

Leaders of the uprising, however, said the agreement had been amended overnight.

“We accept the government's proposal… We are returning to barracks now,” Kone said, speaking in Bouake.

According to spokesmen, the proposal accepted by the soldiers means 8,400 mutineers – mostly former rebel fighters who helped President Alassane Ouattara to power – will receive an immediate bonus payment of five million CFA francs ($8,400). Another two million CFA francs will then be paid at the end of next month.

Ivory Coast is one of the world's fastest growing economies following a decade-long political crisis ended by a 2011 civil war. But deep divisions persist, particularly in a military assembled from former rebel and loyalist combatants.

The soldiers received five million CFA francs ($8,400) each in order to end an earlier revolt in January. But the government has struggled to pay remaining bonuses of seven million CFA francs, after the collapse in world prices for cocoa, Ivory Coast's main export, squeezed finances.

This most recent uprising erupted after a delegation representing the 8,400 troops announced it had dropped the demand for further bonuses, angering other members of the group, who said they had not been consulted.


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