At least five people reported wounded at anti-mutiny march in Ivory Coast

At least five people were wounded by gunfire on Sunday during protests in Ivory Coast's second-biggest city, Bouake, against an army mutiny, according to a witness, as popular opposition to the three-day nationwide revolt over bonuses gathered momentum.

Mutinous soldiers have now opened up access to the city, a leader of the uprising and Bouake residents said, allowing vehicles to move in and out for the first time since Friday.

The mutiny began in Bouake and spread quickly to other cities and towns, mirroring an uprising by the same group in January that paralysed parts of Ivory Coast.

 

The soldiers, most of them ex-rebel fighters who fought to bring President Alassane Ouattara to power, cut off access to Bouake, defying the army chief, who threatened severe punishment if they did not return to barracks.

The defence minister has vowed not to negotiate with the renegade troops.

Heavy gunfire erupted in Bouake's city centre early on Sunday as the soldiers sought to disperse crowds of residents who were attempting to organise a march against the mutiny.

"The population rose up, but the mutineers quickly dispersed the march with shots," said Bouake resident Simon Guede. "Everything is closed. No one is in the streets except the soldiers and a few protesters."

A witness saw five people who had been brought to the city's main hospital with bullet wounds following the aborted march. Two other protesters, who had been beaten, were also being treated.

 

 

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