bukina-fasoFORMER President Blaise Compaore’s
Chief Military Adviser,
General Gilbert Diendere, was
yesterday named the head of a military
junta, called the Burkina Faso National
Council for Democracy.
Members of Burkina Faso’s Presidential
Guard in Ouagadougou on Thursday
announced the dissolution of the
government on national television,
saying President Michel Kafando had
been ousted.
A spokesman for the coup leaders said
on state-run media in Ouagadougou
that they had put in place a National
Democracy Council with responsibility
to organise democratic and inclusive
elections.
Members of the guard were believed to
be dissatisfied with plans to dissolve the
group and integrate it into the military
police.
The soldiers reportedly belonging to
the Presidential Security Regiment on
Wednesday interrupted a cabinet meeting
in Burkina Faso, detained Kafando and
Prime Minister Isaac Zida.
The spokesman for the coup leaders,
Lt. Col. Mamadou Bamba, hinted at a
political agenda to back a return to power
by loyalists to Compaore.
The coup has sparked condemnation
from France, the U.S. and the UN.
It quashed hopes of a smooth transition
in a country that had become a beacon
for democratic aspirations in Africa after
protesters ousted Compaore when he
tried to extend his rule.
A report said soldiers on Thursday
fired warning shots to disperse a crowd
of more than 100 protesters gathered
in Central Independence Square of the
capital Ouagadougou.
Soldiers drove the streets in pickup
trucks, beating and detaining
demonstrators.
Under Mr. Compaore, Mr. Diendere,
a spy operator, played a central role
in negotiating the release of Western
hostages seized by Islamist groups in the
arid Sahel, reports Reuters.
The military had earlier announced
the dissolution of the transitional
government, a day after personnel from
the country’s elite presidential guard unit
arrested the interim president and prime
minister.
Protesters took to the streets to protest
the military takeover amid reports
10 people had been shot dead by the
presidential guards.
Demonstrators ransacked the
headquarters of Mr. Compaore’s
Congress for Democracy and Progress,
CDP party in Ouagadougou, the capital.
The unrest comes days before the
country’s first election since the ouster of
Mr. Compaore, a former military officer
and civilian president, who was forced out
by popular uprising in 2014 after holding
power for 27 years.
The military’s action came few days after
a government committee recommended
dissolving the elite military unit, an arm that
helped Mr. Compaore stay in power for so
long.
Moumina Cheriff Sy, the speaker of the
transitional parliament, called the coup “a
blow to the republic and its institutions”.
He called on the larger military to halt
a coup by elite unit, and said he would
assume leadership until the president was
released, Reuters reported.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Kimoon
condemned the coup, and called for
the immediate release of the leaders.
The United States also called for the
immediate release of the interim president
and prime minister.
French President, Francois Hollande
condemned the coup, calling for the release
of the president and prime minister, and the
continuation of the electoral process.
A communiqué read by the coup
leaders stated that electoral process was
discriminatory and had created “divisions
and frustrations amongst the people”, a
reference to a policy that barred loyalists of
Mr. Compaore and those who backed his
tenure elongation bid, from being part of
the election.
“The transition has progressively
distanced itself from the objectives of refounding
our democracy,” the statement
said.
The coup leader, Mr. Diendere, however,
denied the coup was sponsored by Mr.
Compaore. He said he had “no contact”
with the former ruler.
Meanwhile, International Press Centre,
IPC, yesterday in Lagos strongly condemned
the coup in Burkina Faso.
IPC in a statement signed and made
available to Nigerian Pilot by its Director,
Lanre Arogundade, said it was particularly
concerned about the fate of international
and local journalists as well as freedom of
expression activists currently gathered in
the country for the annual International
Festival of the Freedom of Expression and
the Press, FILEP, from September 16 to 19.
Incidentally the theme of this year’s
celebration by The Norbert ZONGO
National Press Center, CNP-NZ, is “Media
and political changes in Africa: what
contribution?”
IPC warned the coupists against harming
the journalists and activists in any way as
they would be held responsible, should they
become targets of attacks by rampaging
soldiers.
Also, it called on the Nigerian government,
the ECOWAS Commission and the African
Union to take urgent measures to protect
foreign and local civilians, including the
journalists and activists


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