* Four-day mutiny shut down much of the country
* Soldiers receive bonuses, return to barracks
* Many consider concessions to mutiny unfair
(Recasts with soldiers receiving money, writes through)
By Ange Aboa
BOUAKE, Ivory Coast, May 17 Renegade troops in
Ivory Coast on Wednesday withdrew bonuses paid by the government
to end their four-day mutiny, as the wave of unrest gave way to
public frustration at Abidjan's handling of the crisis.
Thousands of dissident troops, mostly ex-rebels who helped
bring President Alassane Ouattara to power, launched their
revolt on Friday, accusing the government of failing to honour a
financial agreement that quelled an earlier mutiny in January.
The bouts of military unrest and public sector strikes this
year have threatened to unravel years of economic progress made
since Ivory Coast, the world's biggest cocoa grower, emerged
from a 2011 civil war and a decade-long political crisis.
Cocoa futures in London and New York dipped
early on Wednesday as exporters resumed bean purchases at the
western port of San Pedro, a day later than at the main port in
In the second-biggest city Bouake, the epicentre of the
revolt, soldiers queued in front of banks that only allowed them
to enter one-by-one for security reasons.
"This will finish my house," said one soldier, flicking
through photos on his phone of a building under construction.
"That's why we did this. Without this money, we can't finish our
projects. It's important to us."
But unlike in January when the mutineers flaunted their cash
following an initial payout, the soldiers remained discrete,
refusing to be filmed or give their names.
NEGOTIATING THROUGH VIOLENCE
At least two people were killed and nine wounded in the
nationwide mutiny, during which civilians protested against the
soldiers' actions and later criticised the government's
"If the government knew it was going to give the money, they
should have done it from the start," said Bouake resident Rovia
Kouassi. "But they waited until people died ... I find that
The mutineers returned to barracks on Tuesday after the
government abandoned its threat of force and agreed to an
immediate payment of 5 million CFA francs ($8,400) per soldier
and an additional 2 million CFA francs next month.
The government had paid an initial 5 million CFA francs to
end January's uprising, but struggled to pay the remainder of
the promised payments after a collapse in world cocoa prices
squeezed state finances.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting in Abidjan, government
spokesman Bruno Kone said Tuesday's agreement had settled the
issue for good and Ivory Coast would continue its post-war rise.
"Ivory Coast remains, in my view, as attractive as before,"
he told reporters. "The Ivorian economy is strong and will be
able to overcome the current difficulties."
Government borrowing costs on 10- and 13-year
dollar-denominated bonds fell on Tuesday after the deal was
announced, reflecting renewed investor confidence.
However, the deal risks angering other factions in the
military, which is still racked by civil war-era divisions
between ex-rebels and former loyalist soldiers.
And while most Ivorians acknowledged the government had
little choice but to pay the mutineers, it was a bitter pill for
many who resented the soldiers' use of violence to force
concessions from the government.
"The civil servants have been struggling for ages," said
Justin Boizo in Abidjan's administrative district. "It would be
wiser and fairer to pay them their back wages."
($1 = 590.9900 CFA francs)
(Additional Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly in Abidjan;
Additional reporting and writing by Joe Bavier; editing by
Edward McAllister and Richard Lough)