Mutinous soldiers have opened fire in four big cities in Ivory Coast, defying a government order to lay down their weapons.

Shots rang out near the presidential palace in the main city, Abidjan, the second city, Bouaké, and in cities vital to the cocoa industry.

Banks across Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, are shut.

The mutineers, who helped the president take office in 2011, have been locked in a pay dispute with the government.

The former rebels make up about 8,400 of Ivory Coast’s 22,000-strong army.

Pro-government forces have backed off from advancing towards Bouaké, the epicentre of the mutiny, apparently because they want to avoid a fight, reports the BBC’s Tamasin Ford from Abidjan.

On Sunday, armed forces’ chief of staff General Sékou Touré vowed to end the mutiny.

An operation had been launched because some soldiers were continuing to disobey orders, he said.

The mutineers said they would fight back if loyalist troops intervened.

 

Source: BBC

 

 

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