Ivory Coast’s two largest cities are a no gone area after the military sealed off the northern and southern entrances in attempts to quash a four day army mutiny over bonus payments.
Heavy gunfire has been heard near the presidential palace in the main city, Abidjan, the second city, Bouaké, and Daloa, a cocoa-growing hub in the west. Heavy gunfire was also heard in San Pedro.
The soldiers are protesting over delayed bonus payments, promised by the government after they helped the president take office in 2011. The unpaid payment is due to the collapse of price of cocoa, Ivory Coast main export.
According to Reuters news agency reports, quoting witnesses, more than 200 commercial trucks are stranded on the roadside.
The army said on Sunday that it had launched an operation "to re-establish order" amid the four-day revolt over bonus payments.
The group’s leader rejected the army’s demand to disarm and surrender.
The former rebels make up about 8,400 of the Ivory Coast's 22,000-strong army.