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Latest update : 2008-03-30

Disgruntled soldiers that have been moved off the front lines in the Ivory Coast have killed at least one person and injured a dozen after firing into the air in Duekoue and neighbouring Guiglo.

ABIDJAN — Protests from disgruntled Ivorian soldiers spread to a second town on Tuesday after at least one civilian was killed by indiscriminate gunfire the day before, police and local militia said.
The death occurred Monday in the western garrison town of Duekoue when hundreds of angry soldiers fired into the air to protest the killing of a soldier at his home in an apparent armed robbery, a police chief told UN radio.
The soldier's death overnight Sunday came on top of simmering resentment about living conditions for the military during a tricky period of post-war disarmament.
A local militia chief, known as "Lieutenant Colombo", told AFP that 100 soldiers had taken control of Duekoue in violence that had left a dozen people injured in all.
The discontentment spread to neighbouring military bases as soldiers showed their anger at government policy towards troops no longer active on the frontline.
The violence spread Tuesday into nearby Guiglo with soldiers releasing sporadic volleys through the night before erecting barricades around their quarters, police chief Alphone Danon Djedje told the UN radio service.
The protests had energised the region's entire military population, who have been complaining of poor living quarters ever since army re-integration following a peace deal between government and rebel forces, he said.
Duekoue is situated near the old frontline between government positions and troops loyal to former rebel leader Guillaume Soro, appointed prime minister in the power-sharing agreement with President Laurent Gbagbo signed in March.
Similar protests erupted in the tense west of the Ivory Coast in November 2007.

Date created : 2008-03-26