Military Leaders Overthrow Government in Burkina Faso

Protesting in support of the ousted interim president and prime minister in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on Wednesday. (Credit: Joe Penney/Reuters)
Protesting in support of the ousted interim president and prime minister in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on Wednesday. (Credit: Joe Penney/Reuters)

Military officers overthrew the government of Burkina Faso on Thursday, plunging the Central African country into chaos. The coup was apparently led by allies of the country’s longtime ruler, who was toppled in October.

Throughout the morning, supporters of the ousted interim president, Michel Kafando, and the prime minister, Isaac Zida, assembled in protest in various neighborhoods here in the capital, yelling, “Free the hostages!” They were dispersed by warning shots from military patrols that crisscrossed the capital. The authorities ordered the country’s borders sealed, canceled flights and imposed a curfew.

The crisis began Wednesday evening when the two officials, as well as two ministers, were seized during a cabinet meeting.

The newsroom of Radio Omega, a station that was central in reporting news of the 2014 uprising, was stormed. The journalists were forced to cut off the signal, and the offices were set on fire.

On Thursday morning, a military spokesman, Lt. Col. Mamadou Bamba, appeared on television — which had been running reruns of old shows — to make a statement on behalf of what he called the National Council for Democracy. The council, he said, is led by Gen. Gilbert Diendéré, a close ally of the former president, Blaise Compaoré, who was in power for 27 years until last fall.

Colonel Bamba said it was necessary to “put an end” to the temporary government, which he said had deviated from the goals of the October 2014 revolt.

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SOURCE: HERVÉ TAOKO
The New York Times

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