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Ivory Coast army mutineers strike deal with government over bonuses

Ivory Coast army mutineers strike deal with government over bonuses

Ivory Coast

Disgruntled soldiers in Ivory Coast reached an agreement with the government late on Friday in a dispute over bonus payments that had threatened to reignite a nationwide army mutiny, negotiators for the mutineers said.

The deal was struck between the soldiers and a government delegation headed by Defence Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi during negotiations in the country’s second-largest city, Bouake.

“We’ve reached an agreement. They will pay five million Monday and the rest each month,” Sergeant Mamadou Kone, one of the mutineers’ negotiators, told Reuters. “We haven’t finished up, but that’s the most important thing.”

The soldiers had appeared poised to relaunch their mutiny on Friday after they complained they had received none of the 12 million CFA francs ($19,278) in bonuses they said the government had promised to pay each of them under an initial deal to end the uprising struck last Saturday.

They appeared poised to relaunch their mutiny on Frida as the soldiers sealed off Bouake as evening fell, even as a government delegation headed by Defence Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi pursued talks with the mutiny’s leaders inside the city.

Gunfire meanwhile broke out at two strategic military camps in the commercial capital, Abidjan, and mutineers seized entrances to Korhogo, a city in the country’s north.

Ivory Coast has one of the world’s fastest growing economies but has struggled to resolve deeply entrenched problems left over from years of civil war and political turmoil.

The government has failed to bring significant reform to the army, which remains a patchwork of former rebel fighters and troops who stayed loyal to the government during the 2002-2011 crisis. Divisions and parallel chains of command persist.

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