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January 17, 2017 | Africa

I. Coast sees fresh protests by mutinous soldiers

AFP
A Ivory Coast patrols the airport in Bouake on January 13, 2017.  By Sia Kambou (AFP/File)
A Ivory Coast patrols the airport in Bouake on January 13, 2017. By Sia Kambou (AFP/File)

Abidjan (AFP) - Mutinous soldiers took to the streets of Ivory Coast's administrative capital Yamoussoukro and second city Bouake, firing shots in the air and terrifying residents, witnesses and an AFP journalist said Tuesday.

"They're driving through the city in army trucks. They're snatching vehicles," said Ahmed Ouattara, who owns a car repair shop in Yamoussoukro.

Several residents of the central city confirmed his report.

"I decided to go home," resident Koffi Germain said.

"We're hiding, there's a lot of shooting," a civil servant told AFP on condition of anonymity.

In Bouake, an AFP journalist saw soldiers firing into the air. They were enraged that other troops who mutinied in the city earlier this month had started to receive better pay.

Fearing for their safety, Bouake residents took shelter in their homes, the journalist said.

These latest protests came after troops -- mostly ex-rebels who joined the national army -- mutinied earlier this month, demanding bonuses, better pay and housing.

They reached a deal last week with the government, and started receiving their payments Tuesday.

Under the deal, the mutinous troops were promised 12 million CFA francs (18,000 euros, $19,000) each.

It remains unclear how the government of the west African nation intends to finance the payments.

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