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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 14:42 GMT
Ivory Coast police on strike
Gendarmes
Police want equal pay with the gendarmes
Two police officers have been wounded after shots were fired by their striking colleagues in the Ivory Coast capital Abidjan.

Although the government immediately ordered all police officers to return to barracks, the shooting continued during the night, according to Reuters news agency.

Laurent Gbagbo
The gendarmes helped Mr Gbagbo become president
The police are unhappy that the para-military gendarmes have been given pay rises, along with the other defence forces.

The gendarmes were instrumental in bringing President Laurent Gbagbo to power following disputed elections in 2000.

"There was heavy firing at about 5am (0500 GMT) and the police hi-jacked two taxis," a resident near Williamsville barracks told Reuters news agency.

Curfew

A police commissioner and a junior officer were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds on Tuesday, according to a government statement.

The statement ordered all police officers to stay in their barracks after 1930.

Rank-and-file officers say that their demands for pay parity had only been met for senior police officers.

Burnt-out car
Ivory Coast has had two years of political turmoil
Mr Gbagbo became president in October 2000 after military ruler General Robert Guei tried to fix the results of presidential elections.

Thousands of Mr Gbagbo's supporters marched through Abidjan and Mr Guei agreed to relinquish power.

The gendarmerie backed Mr Gbagbo and some were accused of killing suspected supporters of former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara, who wanted fresh elections to be held.

Mr Ouattara was excluded from the 2000 poll because a court had ruled that he was not an Ivorian citizen. He denies this.

Until General Guei seized power in December 1999, Ivory Coast was seen as a beacon of peace and economic prosperity in west Africa.

See also:

23 Jan 02 | Africa
'Big four' talking in Ivory Coast
27 Oct 00 | Africa
Mass killing in Ivory Coast
30 Oct 00 | Africa
Ivory Coast reins in soldiers
02 Nov 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Ivory Coast: Reflections on people power
25 Oct 00 | Africa
Ivory Coast's uncertain future
25 Oct 00 | Africa
In pictures: Ivory Coast uprising
01 Nov 00 | Africa
No sanctuary for General Guei
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