13, January 2017
Gunfire has erupted in Ivory Coast’s second largest city, Bouake, ahead of planned talks between the defense minister and a group of mutinous soldiers. Witnesses said the troops began firing in the air during a protest by residents against the mutineers near a cultural center in the city on Friday.
At least 100 heavily armed mutineers poured into the city center aboard military transport trucks and pickups, according to witnesses. Shops were closed across the volatile area. Disgruntled soldiers seized control of Bouake on Friday. Rocket launchers were used in the streets, terrifying residents.
“I’m going home. With this shooting starting up again, I prefer to be at home,” said a local man.Defense Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi is to negotiate with soldiers who staged a two-day mutiny last week. The soldiers want bonuses, pay raise, housing, and swifter promotion. On Sunday, the mutineers briefly held hostage Donwahi and his team as they were negotiating a deal over the matter.
President Alassane Ouattara has announced that a deal has already been reached between the two sides. Ouattara has, however, refrained from giving the exact details of the deal. Most of the people involved in the armed revolt are reportedly former rebels who were later integrated into the army.