ABIDJAN Heavy gunfire erupted on Monday in Ivory Coast’s two largest cities – Abidjan and Bouake – witnesses said, as the military pressed an operation aimed at ending a four-day nationwide army mutiny over bonus payments.
Loyalist troops began advancing towards Bouake, the epicentre of the revolt, on Sunday and sporadic gunfire was heard overnight there as well as at military camps in Abidjan. Shooting in both cities intensified before dawn.
Heavy shooting was also heard in Daloa, a hub for the western cocoa growing regions, on Monday.
“I’ve been hearing the sound of Kalashnikovs and a heavier weapon. That began at around 5 a.m. (0500 GMT) … It’s intense,” said one Abidjan resident, who lives near the U.S. Embassy and the presidential residence.
Another Abidjan resident said mutinying soldiers came out of the West African nation’s largest military camp and erected barricades, blocking traffic along one of the main thoroughfares in the east of the city.
“There was heavy shooting at the northern entrance to the city and in the city centre. It’s calmed a bit but we’re still hearing gunfire,” said one Bouake resident. A second resident confirmed the shooting.
(Reporting by Ange Aboa and Joe Bavier; Editing by Janet Lawrence)