Ivory Coast rebels stage fresh street protest

Bouak  - Hundreds of demobilised rebels took to the streets of this central Ivory Coast city on Monday to demand government funds after disrupting a funeral attended by a cabinet minister.

The minister had offered assistance to help the country's around 6 000 demobilised former rebels to set up businesses or launch other projects.

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

They subsequently took to the streets to press home their demands as dozens of others also staged a protest in the economic capital Abidjan.

The protests come 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.

The demobilised soldiers are demanding the same bonus.

Kone was in town for the funeral of one of the demobilised rebels, who was killed last week in a clash with a group of onetime rebels who unlike them joined the army after turning in their weapons.


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