ABIDJAN. — Cote d’Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattara has sacked the heads of the army, police and gendarmerie after a two-day military revolt that renewed tensions in the West African country.
Angry soldiers and military officers on Friday started a revolt against the central government over pay and bonuses, capturing the second largest city of Bouake before troops in military camps across the country joined the mutiny.
Most of those involved in the armed revolt are reportedly former rebels who were later integrated into the army.
The presidency said in a statement on Monday that army chief General Soumaila Bakayoko was replaced by his second in command, General Sekou Toure.
Bakayoko is the former military head of a 2002-2011 insurgency and has become increasingly unpopular with many troops.
Gervais Kouakou Kouassi, the superior commander of the National Gendarmerie and Director-General of the National Police Bredou M’Bia were also relieved of command with immediate effect, the statement said.
Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan resigned and dissolved the cabinet on Monday, two days later than he was expected to step down based on the standard procedure for changing the government in the country. The delay came due to the military uprising.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi held out an olive branch to the mutineers in a televised address.
“I assure you that the president of the republic understands you. He is a man of his word,” he said.
Donwahi said he would return to Bouake on Friday to meet again with the mutinous soldiers. He was briefly trapped inside the house in the city where talks were held on December 7 after some mutineers opened fire outside. Cote d’Ivoire, the world’s top cocoa producer, is West Africa’s largest and most prosperous economy.
The French-speaking country emerged from nearly a decade of short wars and a protracted crisis in 2011. — Africa News.