UPDATE: Defence Minister says soldiers demanding salary increases and bonus payments were behind the seizure of Ivory Coast’s second largest city of Bouake.
Gunfire has broken out at a military base in the western Ivory Coast town of Daloa, just hours after demobilised soldiers seized the second-largest city of Bouake.
Military sources reported that ex-soldiers, mainly former rebels from a decade-long conflict, broke into police stations across the city and stole weapons before taking up positions in a suspected mutiny.
“The city is under the control of former (soldiers),” an army officer told Reuters newsagency. “There are many of them at the north and south entrances to the city. We are on alert and await instructions from the hierarchy.”
Bouake was the seat of a rebellion that controlled the northern half of the country from 2002 until it was reunited following a civil war in 2011.
The ex-soldiers are yet to state their aims, but AFP news agency reports the unrest may be due to a dispute over pay.