About 45 armed members of a coast guard unit mutinied and abandoned their base Thursday because of reports their November paychecks would be late, the Defense Ministry and news agencies said.

The government news agency Telam said the rebels fled to an unknown destination and were still at large.Telam and the private news agency Noticias Argentinas said coast guardsmen were unhappy because of reports of delays in receiving their November pay.

After several hours of remaining silent about reports of an uprising, the Defense Ministry issued a statement saying, "Today approximately 45 troops of the Albatross Squadron of the Marine Prefecture (Coast Guard) abandoned their base in three vehicles, carrying arms.

"At this time security forces are investigating the event. Other dependencies of the (defense) ministry are normal."