Burkina Faso’s ruling occasion mentioned on Monday (24 January) that President Roch Kabore had survived an assassination try, including that what started as a mutiny by some troopers on Sunday (23 January) was quickly evolving right into a coup, write Thiam Ndiaga and Anne Mimault.
Kabore has not appeared in public since heavy gunfire erupted at army camps on Sunday, when troopers demanded extra help for his or her battle towards Islamist militants. The authorities initially denied that the military had seized power.
“What appeared to be a simple mutiny launched by some elements in the army on 23 January is evolving, hour by hour, into a military coup against our hard-fought democracy,” the People’s Movement for Progress (MPP) mentioned in an announcement.
It mentioned there had been an aborted try to assassinate Kabore, giving no additional particulars. It additionally mentioned the president’s personal residence had been sacked, and nationwide TV and radio have been being occupied.
The African Union and the West African bloc ECOWAS each condemned what they referred to as an tried coup in Burkina Faso, saying they held the army chargeable for Kabore’s security.
A Twitter publish from Kabore’s account referred to as on those that had taken up arms – an obvious reference to mutinous troopers – to put them down. Reuters couldn’t independently confirm if Kabore was the writer.
“Our nation is going through difficult moments. We must at this precise moment safeguard our democratic norms,” mentioned the publish, which was signed RK. “I invite those who have taken up arms to lay them down in the higher interest of the nation.”
Following heavy gunfire in a single day round Kabore’s residence within the capital Ouagadougou, 4 safety sources and one diplomat instructed Reuters the president was being detained by mutinous troopers at a military camp. However, two different safety sources, together with one near Kabore, mentioned he had been taken to a safe location for his personal safety.
Reuters couldn’t independently confirm Kabore’s scenario.
Army putsches have toppled governments over the previous 18 months in Mali and Guinea. The army additionally took over in Chad final yr after President Idriss Deby died combating rebels on the battlefield within the nation’s north.
Landlocked Burkina Faso, one of many area’s poorest international locations regardless of being a gold producer, has skilled quite a few coups since independence from France in 1960.
Islamist militants management swathes of it and have pressured residents in some areas to abide by their harsh model of Islamic legislation, whereas the army’s wrestle to quell the insurgency has drained scarce nationwide sources.
Several armoured autos belonging to the presidential fleet might be seen close to Kabore’s residence on Monday, riddled with bullets. One was spattered with blood.
Three armoured autos and troopers carrying balaclavas have been stationed outdoors the headquarters of the state broadcaster.
Government sources couldn’t instantly be reached. Rumours circulated of an imminent broadcast by a army officer, however none had taken place by 1500 GMT.
The French embassy suggested French nationals in Burkina Faso towards going out in the course of the day for non-essential causes, or in any respect at night time, calling the scenario “quite confusing”.
Two Air France flights scheduled for Monday night time had been cancelled and French colleges within the nation would stay shut on Monday and Tuesday, it added.
Kabore has confronted waves of protests in latest months amid frustration over killing of civilians and troopers by militants, a few of whom have hyperlinks to Islamic State and al Qaeda.
Some of the anger was additionally directed towards former colonial ruler France, which has deployed hundreds of troopers in West Africa’s Sahel area to fight the militants.
Protesters got here out to help the mutineers on Sunday and ransacked the headquarters of Kabore’s political occasion. The authorities declared a curfew from 2000 GMT to 5h30 GMT till additional discover and closed colleges for 2 days.
Splits have emerged in Burkina Faso’s armed forces earlier than.
In 2015, an elite military unit arrested the interim president and prime minister of a transitional authorities that had been put in following the earlier yr’s rebellion that ousted veteran chief Blaise Compaore.
But forces loyal to the federal government then counter-attacked, overturning the coup in lower than every week and permitting elections to go forward later that yr.
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