AFRICANGLOBE – Paramilitary forces in Ivory Coast have fired shots into the air in several cities in what seems to be the start of a new mutiny.
Shots were heard in the main city Abidjan, the capital, Yamoussoukro, and the western cities of Man and Daloa.
The latest unrest comes as the government has started paying soldiers who mutinied earlier this month a bonus of $20,000 each.
The gendarmes are believed to be demanding a similar payment.
The government agreed to pay off mutinous soldiers – for the most part former rebels who helped President Alassane Ouattara come to power in 2011, and were then integrated into the army.
This seems to have provoked jealousy among those who were not part of the deal agreed on Friday.
The development highlights the divisions in the country’s security forces and raises fresh concerns about its stability.
A resident of Yamoussoukro told reporters that he was was confused by the incident.
“I don’t know why they are shooting, but we ran to get home. I live next to the camp; I can see them walking around inside the camp.”
Another resident said that the initial gunfire in the capital lasted about 20 minutes.
“There were shots, and now the traders have gone. They’ve closed up their shops in the city centre.”
It is also being reported that one soldier has been killed in the trouble in Yamoussoukro.