AFRICA/IVORY COAST - New military and police protests, raid against Ucao

Thursday, 19 January 2017 paramilitary groups  

Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) - Several areas of the Ivory Coast are in the grip of protests by military, gendarmes, police and customs officers who take to the streets, firing into the air and intimidating civilians. From Abidjan to Yamoussoukro, from Bouaké to San Pedro, in the last week episodes of military and police mutiny have multiplied after the agreement reached with a part of soldiers who were former guerillas and now part of the army. The latter took to the streets of Man, in Bouaké and other northern cities that had been the bastions of rebellion during the 2002-2011 crisis, obtaining a pay rise but was not granted to other military (see Fides 09/01/2017).
The protests of soldiers are creating a rift with civil society who as well as seeing their activities blocked, fears that the economic progress achieved in recent years may be affected by a recovery of instability.
The solution advocated by many is a profound reform of the army that excludes those who consider wearing a uniform an opportunity to extort money and favors.
The climate of intimidation has not spared the Université Catholique d'Afrique de l'ouest (Ucao): its headquarters in Abidjan was the object of a raid on January 16 by several armed individuals, who uttered threats and robbed students and professors. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 19/01/2017)