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Tough to handle.
PAY OFF

Côte d’Ivoire is paying off soldiers to reduce its large—and mutiny-prone—army

By Yomi Kazeem

Côte d’Ivoire’s recent economic success story has been threatened by its mutinous army. However, one way the government is looking to check that problem is by reducing the size of its armed forces by paying soldiers $26,000, who retire as part of a voluntary scheme, according to documents seen seen by Reuters.

Reducing the size of its large army could be one way to quell mutinous elements in it. Following the country’s bloody civil war and struggle for power in 2011, Côte d’Ivoire’s army became a mixed bag of rival rebel and loyalist forces. But that marriage of interests has come with some friction with soldiers in the army revolting against the government.

In 2017 alone, Côte d’Ivoire has experienced two separate army mutinies. In May, rebel soldiers took control of key areas in Bouake, Côte d’Ivoire’s second-biggest city, and set up roadblocks. In response, amid shootings and fears of violence, streets were deserted with schools and banks temporarily shutting up shop. Earlier, in January, the government paid mutineers $8,400 each to end a brief uprising during which revolting soldiers raided towns and police stations. The soldiers reportedly also requested houses as part of the settlement.

The mutinies have raised fears that Côte d’Ivoire’s progress on economic and political stability since the end of a civil war in 2011 could be undone. The violence at the turn of the decade left more than 3,000 people dead and thousands more displaced. Since then however, Côte d’Ivoire has bounced back under president Alassane Ouattara and now ranks as Africa’s fastest growing economy.