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Army Mutiny Over Pay Spreads Across Ivory Coast

19 May 2017

Mutinous soldiers in Ivory Coast on Monday blocked the main border crossing with neighbouring Burkina Faso, residents and the head of a national transportation association said, as a four-day army mutiny worsened. The yield on Ivory Coast's $750 million bond due July 2024 climbed 5 basis points to 5.87 per cent as of 9:10 Abidjan, heading for its first rise in four days.

It marks the fourth day of renewed tensions in a dispute that had appeared to be tentatively resolved months ago between the government and more than a third of its soldiers.

"This is not a coup". Bursts of shots were fired in Bouake during and after Donwahi's address on television, resident Siriki Kone said by phone. It called on soldiers "to return to the barracks and lay down their arms". Thousands of those rebels were later integrated into the army.

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Access roads into Akouedo were closed, preventing residents from the east of Abidjan from entering the city, an AFP reporter said.

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Shots were also heard from Gallieni camp in the city centre.

One person was killed on Sunday when the mutinous soldiers used guns to disperse residents protesting their violence in Bouake. Flexing their muscles, the mutineers want immediate payment of all outstanding bonuses, directly challenging the president and the military chief.

The African Development Bank advised its employees in Abidjan to stay at home, warning that the security situation remained unclear.

The 8,400 mutineers, majority former rebels who said they were promised bonuses for fighting to bring Ouattara to power, received 5 million CFA francs ($8,400) each to end the January uprising.

A spokesman for the group said on Thursday they had dropped demands for the remaining money, an announcement rejected by numerous soldiers who sparked the current revolt.

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But the government has struggled to pay the promised money.

Bouake was the epicentre of the January mutiny, which triggered months of unrest.

But falling cocoa prices have severely crimped the government's finances.

The standoff in the world's biggest cocoa producer was sparked by last week's announcement by President Alassane Ouattara that the government had reached a compromise with troops who staged a mutiny in January over unpaid bonuses.

But the "apology", which was delivered in a televised ceremony, was viewed with scepticism by numerous mutinous soldiers.

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Army Mutiny Over Pay Spreads Across Ivory Coast