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One dead as mutinous I.Coast soldiers cut off key city

AFP 

One person died today after mutinous soldiers took to the streets in Ivory Coast's central second city Bouake as fresh tensions gripped the world's top cocoa grower.

The fatality was among five men and a mother-of-three who were hospitalised after being struck by warning shots fired to keep residents inside their homes, an AFP photographer saw.


About 15 others were treated for minor injuries.

"(He), Issouf Diawara, finally died from his bullet wounds," his brother Souleymane Diawara told AFP. "I am a distraught man."

Diawara died after he was shot and seriously wounded yesterday amid clashes between former rebels, some of whom have been integrated into the army, and those who were disarmed but have not integrated.

The mutinous soldiers -- those who have been integrated into the army -- were clashing with former fellow rebels over payments.

Under a deal negotiated with the in January, struck after the soldiers' first mutiny, they were to be paid bonuses of 12 million CFA francs (18,000 euros) each, with an initial payment of five million francs that month.

The remainder was to be paid starting this month, according to rebel sources.

But the has struggled to pay the mutinous soldiers, as ex-fighters now demand their own payments.

The soldiers revolted over the bonus payments by taking to the streets on Friday and blocked access to Bouake, which served as the rebel headquarters after a failed 2002 coup which split Ivory Coast in half and led to years of unrest.

Several Bouake residents were beaten by patrolling renegade soldiers.

Another person was injured by soldiers rebelling in Korhogo, the main city in the north.

Korhogo residents had gathered to protest against the mutiny but were dispersed by the rebellious soldiers. Soldiers have also rebelled in the central city of Daloa, a major trading hub in Ivory Coast's cocoa belt.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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