Ivory Coast soldiers accept deal to end mutiny: spokesmen

Gunfire heard at Ivory Coast military headquarters

BOUAKE, Ivory Coast: 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 Reuters on Tuesday.

The government paid the mutineers - majority former rebels who helped Ouattara to power - 5 million CFA francs ($8,400) each to end an uprising in January. "But we want 7 million to be paid in one payment and immediately", Sergeant Seydou Kone said.

"We're happy, we haven't slept for five days", said rebel spokesman Serjeant Sidick.

The mutiny paralysed economic activities in Abidjan and Ivory Coast's second largest city, Bouake and brought large parts of the country to a standstill. No representative from Bouake was there on Monday for their "deal".

Residents in several urban areas said calm had been restored after scattered gunfire was reported overnight in some cities, including Abidjan and San Pedro.

Heavy shooting also erupted in Daloa, a hub for western cocoa-growing regions.

Gunfire was heard in the commercial capital, Abidjan, even after Donwahi made his announcement that a deal was found, resident Elizabeth West said by phone.

"We call on all soldiers to free the corridors, to return to the barracks and to ensure the safety of the population", Donwahi said.

Quadrangular series wrap: Deepti Sharma, Poonam Raut shatter records
The knock is best by an Indian as she bettered the Jaya Sharma's unbeaten 138 against Pakistan in 2005. However, the left-hander went on to represent India in 19 ODI matches, scoring 666 runs.

Ouattara took office in 2011 after months of deadly election violence in which more than 8,000 rebels supported him against troops backing ex-head-of-state Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to concede defeat at the ballot box. Many Ivorians are exhausted of the ill-disciplined army.

On January 13, they reach a final deal at talks in Bouake, on a tense day involving outbreaks of gunfire at barracks across the country.

The flow of small weapons and light arms throughout the country also continues unabated even as the government struggles to disarm and reintegrate ex-militants from both sides.

A group of soldiers took to the streets in major cities last Thursday night, in what was thought to be an army mutiny over the payment of bonuses promised in 2007.

Bouake served as the rebel headquarters following a failed coup in 2002 which split Ivory Coast in half and led to years of unrest.

Ivory Coast has an army of around 22,000, but falling cocoa prices have severely crimped the government's finances.

But the "apology", which was delivered in a televised ceremony, was viewed with scepticism by numerous mutinous soldiers.

The rebellious soldiers have now rejected further negotiations with the government, vowing to fight back if pro-government soldiers intervene.

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