Mutinous soldiers grant access to Ivory Coast city

FILE PHOTO - Mutinying soldiers stand next to their camp as they protest over a pay dispute in the centre of the commercial capital Abidjan, Ivory Coast, May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File photo

Mutinous soldiers in Ivory Coast opened up access to the West African nation’s second-biggest city, Bouake, a leader of the uprising said on Sunday, as public opposition to the three-day nationwide revolt over bonus payments gained momentum.

“We have decided to open the corridors to allow the population to do their work. We have nothing against the population,” Sergeant Seydou Kone said.

Witnesses and a local lawmaker confirmed that traffic was circulating in an out of the city, which sits on the main road axis between Abidjan, the commercial capital – one of the region’s largest ports – and landlocked neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso.

Soldiers searched vehicles and checked the identity documents of bus passengers.

However, in the city centre, they fired shots in the air to disperse residents who were attempting to organize a march against the mutiny, which began on Friday and spread rapidly to cities and towns across Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa grower.

“The population rose up, but the mutineers quickly dispersed the march with shots,” said Bouake resident Simon Guede. “Everything is closed. No one is in the streets except the soldiers and a few protesters.”

 

Zainab Sa’id