Soldiers in Ivory Coast have mutinied in a town in the southeast of the country, renewing an attempt to secure promised bonuses and make other grievances heard. Witnesses in the town of Adiake said on Tuesday that soldiers opened fire and blocked roads earlier in the day, similar to what happened in Bouake and other cities a month ago. “The soldiers erected barricades blocking traffic near their camp. The population has left the streets and we let the students out because we were afraid,” said a teacher in Adiake, adding that schools and other government institutions were shuttered as a result of the mutiny.
Another teacher said gunfire had begun earlier in the Special Forces’ camp in Adiake, adding that the entire town began panicking after armed soldiers left the barracks. A spokesman for the army confirmed that there was gunfire in Adiake, a town located nearly 100 kilometers east of Ivory Coast’s commercial hub Abidjan. The official did not immediately confirm the mutiny.
There was also no report on what the shooters were demanding, but the similar revolt in Bouake last month saw soldiers mutinying over unpaid bonuses and other grievances. The Bouake unrest quickly spread to other cities, including Abidjan. The government then agreed to pay more than 8,000 soldiers, most of them former militants who controlled northern Ivory Coast from 2002 to 2011, bonuses of nearly $20,000.
Other soldiers and elements of security forces have sought similar bonuses since the deal in January. Military sources said on Tuesday that mutineers in Adiake were seeking a similar payoff, which also included bonuses promised to them when they fought for former President Laurent Gbagbo. Hospital sources said the gunfire stopped around 1:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday, but people in Adiake were still panicked.