Burkina Faso president reportedly detained by soldiers

Mildred Europa Taylor January 24, 2022
Protests in Burkina Faso. Photo: AFP

Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore has been detained by mutinying soldiers, the AFP reports. Soldiers staged mutinies at several army bases across the country on Sunday, demanding the sacking of military chiefs and more resources for the battle against Islamist extremists. Gunshots were subsequently heard that same day near Kabore’s private residence in the capital Ouagadougou.

“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 told AFP. There had earlier been talks between representatives of the soldiers and Defence Minister General Barthelemy Simpore about the demands of the soldiers but those talks yielded no results.

Before the soldiers rebelled on several army bases on Sunday, young demonstrators protested against Kabore on Saturday accusing him of being unable to curtail the spread of violence across the country. Attacks believed to have been orchestrated by al-Qaeda and the armed group ISIL (ISIS) keep getting worse in the country. Thousands have so far been killed while more than 1.5 million people have been displaced. Soldiers have complained that their colleagues were dying and that the government has ignored them.

Burkina Faso president reportedly detained by soldiers
Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore holds his final campaign rally ahead of the presidential election, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, November 20, 2020. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

On Sunday, demonstrators set fire to the headquarters of the ruling party. Before reports on Monday that Kabore has been arrested, the government had denied an “army takeover”. A night-time curfew has since been imposed by authorities while mobile internet was cut on Sunday. The education ministry also said schools would be closed on Monday and Tuesday.

AFP reports that around 10 hooded troops stationed 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 by the government.

Kabore has been president since being elected in 2015 after an uprising overthrew President Blaise Compaore, who was in power for almost 30 years. In November 2020, Kabore was re-elected for another five-year term but people have raised issues with his administration in the midst of a struggle to counter the threats to the country’s security.

One of the poorest countries in the world, landlocked Burkina Faso has suffered from periodic coups and droughts. The country with large reserves of gold has, in recent times, also seen an increase in Islamist militant activity.

In May 2018, gunmen attacked the French embassy and military headquarters in the country’s capital Ouagadougou. The government blamed Islamist extremists for the attack, which was the third major attack in Ouagadougou within two years.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 24, 2022


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