Attempt to Military Coup in Burkina Faso, President Kabore Detained

Frustration has risen in Burkina Faso in recent months due to the frequent killing of civilians and soldiers by militants

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Burkina Faso President Roch Kabore

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: President Roch Kabore of Burkina Faso has been detained at a military camp by mutinying soldiers, Reuters reports.

According to a report by the medium, the President’s arrest was confirmed by four security sources and a West African diplomat.

Report came after soldiers staged mutinies at several army barracks on Sunday, prompting fears of a coup in the conflict-hit country, according to Al-Jazeera. Later on Sunday, heavy gunfire was heard around the president’s residence in the capital Ouagadougou.

Soldiers at several army bases across the West African country rebelled on Sunday, demanding the sacking of the military top brass and more resources to fight a bloody jihadist insurgency.

Later in the day gunshots were heard near Kabore’s private residence in the capital Ouagadougou, and witnesses reported seeing a helicopter above it.

“President Kabore, the head of parliament and the ministers are effectively in the hands of the soldiers” at the Sangoule Lamizana barracks in the capital Ouagadougou, a security source said, with another source confirming the arrest.

The situation was tense and confused in the capital, where mobile internet had been cut on Sunday, making it difficult to verify rumours of a coup in progress.

An AFP journalist said around 10 hooded troops had posted themselves in front of the national broadcaster RTB on Monday, but it was not immediately clear if they were from the mutineers or had been sent in by the government.

Kabore, first elected in 2015 before winning re-election five years later on campaign vows he would prioritise the fight against the jihadist insurgency, has faced rising public anger about the failure to stop the bloodshed.

A group of protesters supporting the soldiers set up makeshift roadblocks on several main streets in the capital before being dispersed by police, AFP journalists said.

There have been several coups or attempted coups in Burkina Faso. In neighbouring Mali — where the insurgency began before crossing the border — the military toppled the civilian government in 2020.

The rebellious troops presented a list of demands, which emphasised the need for a better anti-jihadist strategy, but did not mention trying to oust Kabore.

“We want adequate resources for the battle” against Islamist extremists, a soldier from the Sangoule Lamizana base in Ouagadougou said in a voice recording received by AFP.

The disaffected soldiers also wanted top generals to be “replaced”, better care for wounded troops and more support for the families of soldiers killed in battle, the spokesman for the mutinous troops added in the anonymous recording.

Talks between representatives of the soldiers and Defence Minister General Barthelemy Simpore failed to make headway, a government source said.

On Saturday before signs of soldier mutinies, police used tear to disperse banned protests against the government’s anti-jihadist strategies, arresting dozens.

Then on Sunday, demonstrators set fire to the headquarters of the ruling party.

Before reports of the president’s arrest, the government had denied an “army takeover”.

The turmoil in Burkina Faso comes after successful military coups over the past 18 months in Mali and Guinea, where the army removed President Alpha Conde last September.

The military also took over in Chad last year after President Idriss Deby died on the battlefield there.

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May 2024
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