Reports from the central city of Bouake said soldiers took to the streets on Sunday to prevent people from attending a demonstration against the rebel’s action.
“The shooting continues. The mutineers aren’t letting people leave their homes to demonstrate,” said a Bouake resident as soldiers took up positions in a square in front of the police headquarters and started shooting into the air.
“There’s too much shooting this morning, it’s practically impossible to go and attend mass. I’ll pray with my family at home,” said another resident, identified as Jean Yves Kobena.
Traffic in and out of Bouake was also disrupted as renegade soldiers stationed in four main access points to the city were reportedly extorting money from drivers.
Health officials said Bouake’s main hospital had admitted a mother of three children and five men who had reportedly been injured in the shooting by soldiers.
The mutiny started on Friday when soldiers took to the streets and demanded the government keep its promises and make payments. Government representatives began talks with the soldiers on Saturday but they failed to convince them to end the blockade on Bouake. Similar protests have been reported from cities of Korhogo, in the north and in Daloa, a trading hub in central Ivory Coast. Local media said loyalist forces managed to push back renegade soldiers from military headquarters in the economic capital of Abidjan.
The fresh mutiny comes after the government promised in January to pay 12 million CFA francs (18,000 euros) each to rebellious soldiers in Bouake. Soldiers are reportedly angry at the government’s inability to reimburse the last installment of the payment this month, which was about seven million francs.