Ex-rebels in Ivory Coast get severance pay in step toward holding long-delayed election

KORHOGO, Ivory Coast (AP) — Former rebels in northern Ivory Coast have received their long-overdue severance pay, easing worries that the demobilization process would not be completed.

Disarmament is a precondition to holding a presidential election that has been delayed since 2005. Completing the process has been a priority since an Oct. 31 election date was set.

In the northern city of Korhogo, 1,500 ex-soldiers each received 100,000 francs CFA ($204) on Wednesday to help them start a new life after having served eight years in a rebellion.

In June, the New Forces rebels agreed to provide 5,000 soldiers for the new unified national army, and to disarm and demobilize the rest. The payments were delayed when the government refused to provide funding.