Demobilized soldiers staged a demonstration in the Plateau area of Abidjan on Monday, December 3, to demand the payment of retirement bonuses promised by the government. The military has reportedly pledged to fulfill payments by December 20, although demonstrators have called for bonuses to be paid out no later than Friday, December 7. A heightened security presence is expected in the coming days and weeks due to potential unrest. Violence between security forces and demobilized soldiers cannot be ruled out if the agreement is not honored over the coming days.
Soldiers launched mutinies in January and May 2017 over low wages and unpaid bonuses supposedly owed to the soldiers after the 2010-2011 post-electoral crisis. At least one civilian died in the clashes over several months. A similar uprising occurred in 2014, when hundreds of soldiers blocked roads throughout the country demanding unpaid wages. The government ultimately reached a financial settlement with the soldiers.
Côte d'Ivoire experienced a drawn-out political crisis from 2002 to 2011 and despite years of relative peace and stability the country's military continues to suffer from large internal divisions stemming from animosities among current soldiers (opponents in previous conflicts) and a lack of reform.
Individuals present in Côte d'Ivoire, and in particular Abidjan, are advised to keep abreast of the situation, to remain vigilant, and to follow any instructions issued by local authorities or their home governments.
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