Thursday, September 17

Military coup in Burkina Faso, civilian government dissolved




The military in Burkina Faso has taken to the airwaves to declare it now controls the country, confirming that a coup has taken place – just weeks before national elections.

In the announcement aired early on Thursday on national television and radio, the statement said that the transitional government had been dissolved.

The statement came a day after members of the elite presidential guard unit of the military arrested the transitional president and prime minister.


A military official said on state-run media in Ouagadougou that they had put in place a national democracy council charged with organising democratic and inclusive elections.

The presidential guard was believed to be dissatisfied with plans to dissolve it and to integrate it into the military police.

The soldiers reportedly belong to the Presidential Security Regiment on Wednesday interrupted a cabinet meeting in Burkina Faso detaining Kafando, Prime Minister Isaac Zida, and arrested several ministers.

The dissolution had been recommended to Kafando by a reform and reconciliation commission formed after former President Blaise Compaore fled the country in October.

The commission, which includes prominent Burkinabes and civil society representatives, proposed that the presidential guard be integrated into the military police and the gendarmerie.

Meanwhile, demonstrators gather at central square and marched toward the presidential palace where the ministers are being held, demanding that the soldiers release them and leave.

Members of the Presidential Security Regiment fired shots to disperse the protesters but no injuries were reported.

The 1,300-strong presidential guard has been known for its loyalty to Compaore whose supporters have been banned from contesting the elections set for October 11.

Kafando was chosen interim president in November.

Initially, Zida, the second-in-command of the presidential guard, had taken power when Compaore fled to Ivory Coast on October 31 after massive demonstrations demanding an end to his 27-year rule.

The African Union has threatened Burkina Faso with sanctions unless power was handed over to civilians, and an agreement was reached on a transitional period.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for the immediate release of the president and prime minister, calling it a serious violation of Burkina Faso’s Constitution and its interim government.

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