The president of Burkina Faso was back in charge on Wednesday and said he would resume overseeing a transition to democracy, ending a coup by presidential guard soldiers who took him hostage last week.

Michel Kafando addressed his supporters and West African leaders who flew to the capital of the West African state to negotiate the terms of the end to the coup, in which troops under General Gilbert Diendere briefly took power.

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Diendere had greeted the heads of state from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Niger at the airport earlier in the day, giving the impression he was still in charge. But he did not attend Kafando’s speech and later said he regretted the coup.

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National elections, scheduled for Oct. 11, were meant to mark a return to democracy in Burkina Faso, a year after demonstrators toppled President Blaise Compaore as he attempted to extend his 27-year rule, but it was not clear if they would go ahead on schedule.

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Kafando’s task was to guide the country to that vote, a process seen as a beacon for democratic hopes in Africa at a time when leaders from Rwanda to Congo Republic appear to be manoeuvring to scrap term limits to extend their rule.

 


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