On Monday, May 8, several hundred ex-rebels, some of which were armed, blockaded the main road entering the city of Bouaké. The roadblock was removed after several hours when government officials promised that President Alassane Ouattara would meet with the leaders of the ex-rebels, according to a spokesman for the protesters. They are demanding military and government jobs, as well XOF 18 million (USD 30,120) per person for unpaid salaries and bonuses from 2007 to 2012.
Two civil wars have taken place in Ivory Coast in the past two decades, one from 2002 to 2007 and one from 2010 to 2011. The first was between the Muslim rebel group New Forces that controlled territory in the north and the predominantly Christian government forces that controlled the south. The second war followed the election of President Alassane Ouattara, which supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo claimed to be illegitimate. Opposing security forces loyal to Ouattara and Gbagbo clashed until French forces arrested Gbagbo in April 2011. Since 2011, around 6800 former fighters throughout the country have been demobilized.
Bouaké is the country's second-largest city and a former stronghold of the disbanded rebel group New Forces, who operated there during the civil war. The city witnessed a mutiny in January 2017, with soldiers demanding higher wages and the payment of bonuses owed to the soldiers after the 2010-2011 post-electoral crisis.
Individuals present in Ivory Coast are advised to keep abreast of the situation, to avoid the area of demonstrations, and to follow any instructions issued by local authorities or their home governments. Travelers should anticipate localized transportation disruptions in the vicinity of any demonstrations.
Copyright and Disclaimer