mutiny ivory coast
Mutinous Ivorian soldiers patrol in their vehicle by Ivory Coast's army headquarters, the Gallieni military camp, in Abidjan

Rogue elements of the military have taken over major urban areas of the Ivory Coast and opened fire on civilians. Mutinous troops, engaged in a pay dispute with the government, sealed off the country's second largest city, Bouake, on Saturday 13 May.

On Friday, in the commercial capital Abidjan, soldiers took over the national military headquarters and defence ministry. Sporadic gunfire was heard in the city and other towns across the country.

Businesses were closed in Bouake, which was described by a reporter as a "desert" and panicked scenes were reported elsewhere.

Three former rebels were shot by mutineers in the city to prevent a counter-protest.

And in the northern city of Korhogo, citizens reportedly gathered to protest the actions of the mutineers but were dispersed by gunfire.

Two men in the city were later shot by troops manning a road block, a witness said. The soldiers opened fire after the men, who were on a motorcycle, failed to stop at the checkpoint, hitting them in the legs.

"We do not want to negotiate with anyone," Sergeant Seydou Kone, one of the leaders of the uprising, told Reuters. "We're also ready to fight if we are attacked. We have nothing to lose."

A Bouake resident, Abou Kone, said: "The soldiers are wearing balaclavas and are threatening to move on Abidjan."

In Abidjan, soldiers reportedly drove around in pick-up trucks and fired into the air. Special forces units were also deployed and social media reports suggested the situation was calmer by Friday evening.

Most of the 8,400 mutineers are believed to be former rebel soldiers who were promised a bonus in order to stop protesting in January.

They were each paid five million CFA francs (£6,773) but after their leaders met with the government on Thursday they dropped demands for a remaining seven million francs.

The decision was rejected by a large number of soldiers - who said they had not been consulted - resulting in the latest mutiny.

"That's not what they were meant to say," said one mutinous soldier in Bouake after the announcement.

Experts suggested the spokesman, named by AFP as Sergeant Fofana, did not represent the wishes of the group.

Military chiefs have threated the mutineers with "severe disciplinary sanctions" if they did not halt their protests. Government officials have vowed to maintain the deal.

The situation remained fluid and unpredictable over the weekend, heightening concerns the disorder could escalate.

A sharp fall in the price of cocoa, which powers the Ivory Coast's economy, is believed to be why the government can no longer pay out the promised bonus.

The country remains divided after nearly a decade of civil war, which claimed thousands of lives.

Many of the rebellious troops were insurgent combatants during the conflict and helped bring incumbent President Alassane Ouattara to power. They were integrated into the army after the war ended.