Angry Ivory Coast ex-rebels block access to cities

2017-05-23 06:11
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Bouak - Disgruntled former rebels demanding government compensation payments blocked roads on Monday into Ivory Coast's second biggest city, Bouake, as well as into the key northern city of Korhogo, AFP reporters said.

In Bouake, the former fighters blocked the main road south to the Ivorian economic capital, Abidjan, as well as the northern highway to neighbouring Burkina Faso.

"We will not budge," said Diomande Megbe, the spokesman for ex-rebels seeking bonuses from the government.

They want payments similar to those already pledged to former fighters who demobilised and signed up for the national army after deadly post-election violence in 2011.

The ex-rebels on the barricades on Monday also laid down their weapons but have refused to join Ivory Coast's military.

Monday's protests came days after a crippling four-day army mutiny, the latest in a series of armed protests which began in January in the West African country.

That uprising ended when the government agreed to pay the soldiers bonuses of 12 million CFA francs (18 000 euros) each.

Earlier Monday in Bouake, hundreds of former rebels took to the streets after disrupting a funeral attended by a cabinet minister.

The minister had offered assistance to help demobilised former rebels to set up businesses or launch other projects.

But the one-time rebels shouted "We don't want projects, we want cash", and then surrounded Solidarity Minister Mariatou Kone's vehicle, preventing her from getting away.

Kone was in town for the funeral of one of the demobilised rebels, who was killed last week in a clash with former colleagues who had joined the army after turning in their weapons.

Read more on:    ivory coast  |  west africa

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