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Gunfire Reported as Ivory Coast Tries to End Special Forces Revolt

  • Associated Press

Soldiers of Ivory Coast's special forces drive through the city of Adiake, Ivory Coast, Feb. 7, 2017.

Residents reported gunfire for a second straight day in a southeast Ivory Coast town on Wednesday as officials tried to end the latest mutiny by security forces over pay.

Businesses and schools were closed after a short burst of gunfire in the morning, said Monique Yao, a hospital worker in Adiake. The town is nearly 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of the country's commercial hub, Abidjan.

Defense Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi said discussions were ongoing between the special forces in Adiake and their commander, Gen. Lassina Doumbia.

Payoff demanded

Members of the elite unit on Tuesday fired into the air and blocked roads to demand a payoff similar to one awarded soldiers who mutinied in the city of Bouake last month.

The mutineers in Bouake have said they were promised nearly $20,000 for more than 8,000 soldiers, though the government has not confirmed that figure. Since the deal was announced, other soldiers and elements of the security forces have staged revolts of their own.

Civilians hit by stray bullets

Two civilians were injured in the unrest Tuesday, government spokesman Bruno Kone told reporters Wednesday. Yao, the hospital worker, said they had been hit by stray bullets.

Ivory Coast has enjoyed strong economic growth and peace since a post-election conflict ended in 2011 with President Alassane Ouattara coming to power, but Kone warned that the mutinies would hurt the country's image and reduce state resources.

"We are not giving up, but it is difficult to monitor 30,000 soldiers on our territory," Kone said.

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