ECOWAS condemns soldiers’ mutiny in Cote d’Ivoire

The President of the Republic of Liberia, Ellen Sirleaf, has condemned the acts of violence being perpetrated by mutinous soldiers in Cote d’Ivoire.

The Liberian leader who also Chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, called upon the mutineers to end the shootings and threats to civilian lives, roadblocks which obstruct the free movement of people and the conduct of normal commercial activities in cities and towns.

According to a statement dated May 15, Ms. Sirleaf, speaking on behalf of the ECOWAS, also admonished the soldiers to return to their barracks and resume negotiations for their compensation.

Similarly, the ECOWAS Chair renewed the firm commitment of all ECOWAS members to the maintenance of peace and stability in the community’ which are indispensable for achievement of the aspirations of the ECOWAS citizens for development.

President Sirleaf also urged the mutineers to fulfil their obligation to protect the citizens of Cote d’Ivoire and to refrain from any actions which could result in further deaths and injuries.

She further called upon them to maintain the peace and tranquility which Ivorians and citizens of other countries of the West Africa have enjoyed for many years and continue to work concertedly to preserve.

The country 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, its main export, squeezed finances.

The 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.

On Tuesday, Reuters news agency reported that some leaders of the nationwide military mutiny have accepted a government proposal on bonus payments and agreed to return to barracks, ending their revolt.

Neither Ivory Coast’s defence minister nor government spokesperson was immediately available to confirm details of the agreement, Reuters reports, but a witness said the soldiers in Bouake, the epicentre of the uprising and Ivory Coast’s second largest city, had withdrawn into their bases.

Seydou Kone, one of the revolt’s spokespersons, said some mutineers had received their bonuses under the agreement.

“We accept the government’s proposal … We are returning to barracks now,” Mr. Kone said, speaking in Bouake.

Source: News Now/Premium Times

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About Cholo Brooks 4098 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL), including several other international organizations of journalists.