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(Ivory Coast) Banks Ordered to Remain Closed Amid Mutiny Tensions

Pray for Ivory Coast!

The banking system in Ivory Coast is at a standstill following a directive that all banks remain closed amid the current crisis where mutineers are nearing a clash with government forces.

The country’s banking association is said to have asked all banks to be closed as a security measure after an emergency meeting. One bank, the Societe General Bank of Ivory Coast (SGBCI) confirmed the directive in a message on its twitter handle.

A translation of the message posted in French read, ‘‘As a result of the current security situation, SGBCI branches will remain closed today. The bank apologizes for the inconvenience and asks clients to use ATMs to access their money.’‘

Reuters news agency had earlier quoted a bank official as saying, ‘‘There was an emergency meeting this morning and the (banking association) took the decision that, for security reasons, all banks would stay closed.’‘

The mutineer soldiers continue to fire shots in the air in major cities. Their main request is that they are paid bonuses that are owed them. They have since late last week blocked several major roads across the country.

The government over the weekend launched a military operation and has reiterated that it will continue to walk a firm line over the current impasse. The renegade soldiers have since rejected a deal to end the mutiny.

Residents in the country have largely remained indoors for fear of an escalation in the already tense situation. On Monday, the soldiers under mutiny said they were only after their unpaid arrears and further rejecting claims that they were planning a coup.

The mutiny in Ivory Coast has affected several activities within major towns as most businesses were closed for fear of attacks. Locals have demanded the government to pay soldiers their arrears to ease tension.

The about 8,400 mutineers, most of them former rebels, received $8,400 each to end the January uprising, with more to come. Heavy shooting was also heard in Daloa, a hub for western cocoa-growing regions.

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