Home WORLD AFRICA Burkina Faso: confused situation regarding the fate of President Kaboré

Burkina Faso: confused situation regarding the fate of President Kaboré

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West African States reported following with great concern the evolution of the situation in Burkina Faso, characterized since Sunday by a coup attempt.

President Kaboré, the head of Parliament (Alassane Bala Sakandé) and ministers are indeed in the hands of soldiers, at the Sangoulé Lamizana barracks in Ouagadougou, a security source told AFP, information confirmed by another source within the security services.

But a government source later claimed the president had been exfiltrated from his residence on Sunday evening by gendarmes from his guard before the arrival of armed elements who fired on the vehicles of his convoy.

An AFP journalist saw in the morning near the residence of the Head of State three vehicles riddled with bullets. Traces of blood were visible on one of them.

Men observe a black sport utility vehicle riddled with bullets.

Several bullet holes are visible on this vehicle belonging to the presidency, after shooting near the residence of Mr. Kaboré.

Photo: Reuters / Freelancer

According to this source, the situation is confusing, a confusion fueled by the absence at midday Monday of any statement from the mutinous soldiers or relatives of the Head of State.

On Mr. Kaboré’s Twitter account, a message posted at the start of the afternoon, of which it was impossible to know whether it had been written by him directly, or under what circumstances, invites those who have taken up arms to lay them down in the best interests of the Nation.

It is through dialogue and listening that we must settle our contradictions, he adds.

In power since 2015, President Kaboré, re-elected in 2020 on the promise to make the fight against jihadist his priority, was increasingly contested by a population exasperated by jihadist violence and its powerlessness to deal with it.

An AFP journalist noted that a dozen hooded and armed soldiers had posted themselves Monday morning in front of the headquarters of Radio Television du Burkina (RTB), which broadcast entertainment programs.

France on Monday called on its nationals to be cautious and to avoid any travel to Burkina.

Soldiers mutinied on Sunday in several barracks in Burkina Faso to demand the departure of army chiefs and adapted means in the fight against the jihadists who have been attacking this country since 2015.

Shots were heard at the end of the day near the residence of the head of state and a helicopter flew over the area with all lights extinguished, according to residents.

These mutinies came as the Sahel is increasingly destabilized by jihadists who are also hitting neighboring Niger and Mali, a country that has been the scene of two coups in a few months.

Beyond that, in West Africa, the fragility of States also manifested itself with a putsch in Guinea.

Several angry demonstrations have taken place for several months in several cities of Burkina Faso to denounce the inability of the authorities to counter the jihadist attacks which are multiplying, often prohibited and dispersed by the riot police.

Close-up of Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.

Burkinabé President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, during a visit to Paris, November 12, 2021.

Photo: The Canadian Press/AP/Michel Euler

Throughout the day on Sunday, demonstrators supported the mutineers and set up makeshift roadblocks in several avenues in the capital, before being dispersed by the police, AFP journalists noted. Further demonstrations of support took place on Monday.

Shots were heard for several hours on Sunday in several barracks in Burkina Faso, including those of Sangoulé Lamizana, Baba Sy and the air base in Ouagadougou.

Mutinies also took place in Kaya and Ouahigouya, in northern Burkina, where jihadist attacks are mostly concentrated, according to residents and military sources.

The government had recognized shootings in several barracks, denying however military takeover.

On Sunday evening, President Kaboré had decreed until further notice a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. local time, and the government announced the closure of schools on Monday and Tuesday.

We want means adapted to the fight anti-jihadist and substantial staff, as well as the replacement of the highest ranks of the national army, said in an audio recording sent to AFP a soldier from the Sangoulé Lamizana barracks, on condition of anonymity.

He also wished better care for the injured during attacks and fights with jihadists, as well as families of the deceased.

The mutineers’ claims were confirmed by other military sources and fruitless discussions took place between their representatives and the Minister of Defense, General Barthélémy Simporé, according to a government source.

The Sangoulé Lamizana camp in Ouagadougou where President Kaboré is detained is home to the Armed Forces Arrest and Correction Center (MACA) where General Gilbert Diendéré is also imprisoned, close to former President Blaise Compaoré who was overthrown in 2014 and who has lived since in Ivory Coast.

General Diendéré was sentenced to 20 years in prison for an attempted coup in 2015 against President Kaboré and is currently on trial for his alleged role in the 1987 assassination of then-President Thomas Sankara, a pan-African icon.

The trial of the alleged assassins of Sankara, which was to enter Monday in the phase of indictments and pleadings before the military court of Ouagadougou, has been postponed to an indefinite date, according to a judicial source.

A man reads a newspaper.  In one, we can read

A Burkinabé learns about the latest developments by reading a local daily newspaper.

Photo: Getty Images / AFP/OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT

Like Mali and Niger, Burkina Faso is caught in a spiral of violence attributed to armed jihadist groups, affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State armed group. The attacks, which target civilians and soldiers, are increasingly frequent and mostly concentrated in the north and east of the country.

The violence of jihadist groups has killed more than 2,000 people in nearly seven years and forced 1.5 million people to flee their homes.

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