Gendarmes Run Amok At Ivory Coast’s Main Port

Soldiers of Ivory Coast presidential guard patrol as they arrive at the port of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Luc Gnago
Gendarmes Run Amok At Ivory Coast’s Main Port

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Paramilitary gendarmes ran amok through the port in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital on Wednesday, firing in the air and ordering companies to close, a Reuters witness said, as weeks of unrest in the security forces showed no signs of easing.

The gendarmes, part of the police force, then moved out of the port area and blocked a major road in the city’s Treichville neighborhood, halting traffic and sending residents fleeing home.

Abidjan’s port is one of the two main export points for cocoa shipped from the world’s leading producer.

Separately, guards in Bouake, the West African nation’s second largest city, also fired their weapons in front of the main prison to try to pressure the government into paying them more money, a local member of parliament said.

The government started making promised bonus payments to disgruntled soldiers this week in line with an agreement to end a military mutiny earlier this month, although the payments have angered rival factions and triggered copycat demands.

Soldiers in other segments of the military revolted in the capital, Yamoussoukro, on Tuesday. At least two soldiers were killed.

(Reporting by Ange Aboa; Additional reporting and writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Ed Cropley)

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