The African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have expressed concerned over the tense security atmosphere in the Ivory Coast where mutineers are violently demanding payment from the government.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, the AU chief said on Monday that he was following events in Ivory Coast ‘‘where mutineers have violently demonstrated their discontent.’‘ ‘‘These grievances can be expressed peacefully in order to avoid a new crisis,’‘ the AU chief tweeted.
Leaders of both political blocs, however, called on the aggrieved soldiers to resort to negotiations to peacefully resolve the impasse. ECOWAS leader and Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, called for immediate cessation of shooting which she said threatened civilian lives.
Whiles condemning the actions of the soldiers, Sirleaf also admonished them to return to the barracks and use negotiations to settle their issue with the government.
The head of the army said on Sunday troops were being sent to Bouake to “re-establish order” but a Reuters team travelling from the capital Yamoussoukro towards the city, saw only a handful of loyalist military vehicles.
Most of the large column of troops spotted on Sunday evening appeared to have withdrawn, suggesting any government operation was not yet fully under way.
More than 200 commercial trucks were stranded on the roadside after mutinous soldiers sealed off the southern entrance to Bouake, on Monday, Reuters witnesses said.
The four-day-old revolt exposes divides in a society that emerged from a decade of political turmoil and a civil war in 2011 to become one of the world’s fastest growing economies under President Alassane Ouattara.
Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer and London cocoa futures climbed to a five-week high due to the unrest as businesses in the sector closed. Already banks have been ordered to remain closed as a security measure amid the uncertainty.
Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban with REUTERS