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SOLDIERS GO ON RAMPAGE IN IVORY COAST'S LARGEST CITY

Groups of government soldiers took to the streets Thursday, shooting wildly into the air, stealing cars and looting stores in Ivory Coast's largest city and commercial capital.

No official reason for the rebellion was given. But government officials and Western diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said army members were angry because they were owed money.

Ivory Coast has long been considered a model of stability, but has seen increasing political and social tension ahead of presidential elections scheduled for next year.

Today, Abidjan residents dashed for cover as military vehicles raced by with soldiers firing automatic weapons into the air. Stores closed throughout the city and barricades went up in some neighborhoods.

Witnesses said the soldiers forced people from their cars and took off with the vehicles.

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