Heavy gunfire as mutiny spreads in I.Coast cities

Ivory Coast holds emergency security meeting amid soldiers' revolt

Cocoa businesses, banks and government buildings in Ivory Coast's western cocoa hub, Daloa, were shut on Monday, residents said, amid gunfire linked to a four-day nationwide army mutiny.

I heard the shooting.

Ivory Coast has launched a military operation to take back Bouake, where at least one civilian was killed Sunday and reports say more than 20 others were hurt when they ignored warnings from the mutinous soldiers to stay in their homes.

An Abidjan resident said mutinying soldiers came out of the largest military camp and erected barricades early on Monday, blocking traffic along one of the main thoroughfares in the east of the city.

"The population rose up, but the mutineers quickly dispersed the march with shots", said Bouake resident Simon Guede.

Shooting was also reported in Bouake, erstwhile headquarters of the rebellion in Ivory Coast.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: The city of Abidjan awoke to the echo of gunfire at a military camp and the main business district and could be heard near the US embassy and the presidential residence.

Reuters quoted a Bouake resident as saying: "There was heavy shooting at the northern entrance to the city and in the city centre".

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Under a deal negotiated with the government in January, struck after the ex-rebel soldiers' first mutiny, they were to be paid bonuses of 12 million CFA francs (18,000 euros) each, with an initial payment of five million francs that month.

But in a surprise televised announcement Thursday, a spokesman for the soldiers apologized and declared they would be dropping their demands for the rest of their payment.

Ivory Coast has been generally seen as a success story after emerging from a 2002-2011 political crisis as one of the world's fastest-growing economies.

Military staff and rebel soldiers made a pact after two days of talks, Defense Minister Alain Donwahi said Monday in a broadcast on state television, RTI, without elaborating on details of the agreement.

Deep divisions persist, particularly in a military assembled from former rebel and loyalist combatants.

In Bouake, soldiers fired on a group of demobilised former rebels seriously wounding one of them, according to their spokesman and a local lawmaker. "We are waiting for them", Sergeant Seydou Kone told the Reuters news agency.

"It (the rise) is all on Ivory Coast and the size of the short positions in both London and NY", one dealer said, noting speculators were covering substantial short positions in both markets.

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