The leaders of a nationwide military mutiny in Ivory Coast have accepted a government proposal on bonus payments and agreed to return to barracks, ending their revolt, two spokesmen for the soldiers told journalists on Tuesday.
Neither Ivory Coast’s defense minister nor government spokesman was immediately available to confirm details of the agreement, but a witness said the soldiers in Bouake, the epicenter of the uprising and Ivory Coast’s second largest city, had withdrawn into their bases.
Some mutineers had received their bonuses under the agreement, Sergeant Seydou Kone, one of the revolt’s spokesmen said.
Cocoa exporters at the port of Abidjan resumed business after a one-day closure, and banks also re-opened.
The renegade soldiers, who have paralyzed cities and towns across the country since Friday, rejected an earlier deal announced by Defence Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi late on Monday.
Leaders of the uprising, however, said the agreement had been amended overnight.
“We accept the government’s proposal … We are returning to barracks now,” Kone said, speaking in Bouake.
A mutinying soldier stands next to Ivory Coast’s National Police officers as he prepares to leave the checkpoint at the entrance to Bouake, Ivory Coast, May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Luc Gnago
According to spokesmen, the proposal accepted by the soldiers means 8,400 mutineers – mostly former rebel fighters who helped President Alassane Ouattara to power – will receive an immediate bonus payment of 5 million CFA francs ($8,400). Another 2 million CFA francs will then be paid at the end of next month.
“We’ve just handed back control of the entrances to the city (Bouake) to the police and gendarmes this morning, and we’re returning to our barracks,” another spokesman for the group said, asking simply to be names Sergeant Cisse.
“There’s no one on the streets. It’s finished. They are all in the barracks. There hasn’t been a single shot fired since 8 a.m.,” a witness in Bouake said.
Ivory Coast is one of the world’s fastest growing economies following a decade-long political crisis ended by a 2011 civil war. But deep divisions persist, particularly in a military assembled from former rebel and loyalist combatants.
The soldiers received 5 million CFA francs ($8,400) each in order to end an earlier revolt in January. But the government has struggled to pay remaining bonuses of 7 million CFA francs, after the collapse in world prices for cocoa, Ivory Coast’s main export, squeezed finances.
This most recent uprising erupted after a delegation representing the 8,400 troops announced it had dropped the demand for further bonuses, angering others members of the group, who said they had not been consulted.
Residents in towns across the country affected by the mutiny said that calm had largely returned on Tuesday morning.