Conakry - Mutinous soldiers in Guinea, staging a second bloody protest for wage arrears in as many years, are demanding the sacking of the army's top brass, a military source said on Thursday.
The source told reporters that apart from their demand for outstanding bonuses, the soldiers "wanted all officers above the grade of colonel to be dispensed with. They think they are not in solidarity with them."
There are about 10 officers above the rank of colonel in Guinea, ruled by strongman General Lansana Conte since 1984.
The army is a key pillar of Conte's administration.
The pay protest has seen troops go on the rampage in the mineral-rich West African nation, leaving two people dead and dozens hurt as they looted shops and robbed civilians.
The Guinean government on Tuesday said "following the demands formulated by the soldiers," it would pay out five million Guinean francs to each in stages to cover the wage arrears.
It said the payment of the first million would come before the end of the month.
The soldiers have also captured Guinea's deputy chief-of-staff, General Mamadou Sampil, and held him since Monday afternoon at the country's largest military base near the capital's international airport.
Major Korka Diallo, who is in charge of military finances, and two other officers wounded on Monday were flown to Morocco for treatment, military sources said on Wednesday.
The protests came a year after similar mutinies in several towns across Guinea over the same issue, when at least eight people died and dozens more were injured by stray bullets.
Last week Conte dismissed prime minister Lansana Kouyate, a compromise candidate put forward under a deal to end a general strike and massive protests in 2007, and replaced him with his confidant Ahmed Tidiane Souare.
The dismissal of Kouyate was one of the soldiers' grievances, as they said they had nobody to address their complaints to since his departure.