Burkina Faso coup leader refuses to heed deadline as loyalist soldiers converge on the capital

West African leaders were flying to Burkina Faso Tuesday night to try to resolve the country's political crisis following a coup last week.

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — West African leaders were flying to Burkina Faso Tuesday night to try to resolve the country’s political crisis following a coup last week.

There was a tense standoff in the capital after the coup leader refused to heed a deadline for his men to return to barracks even after troops opposing the takeover poured into the capital.

Gen. Gilbert Diendere, the coup leader, instead said he would hand over power when requested by West African leaders of the regional body ECOWAS who met in Nigeria.

A communique issued from Diendere’s office late Tuesday said that the heads of states of Senegal, Togo, Benin and Nigeria are expected in Ouagadougou after the meeting in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. ECOWAS commission chairman Kadre Desire Ouedraogo and United Nations representative Mohamed Ibn Chambas will travel with them, the communique said.

Soldiers from all over this West African nation arrived in Ouagadougou, in a show of force to convince the troops backing the coup to lay down their arms. Residents cheered the troops’ arrival early Tuesday before they were asked to return to their homes.

As the deadline set by the military for the presidential guard, which mounted the coup last week, to return to their barracks by 10 a.m. (1000 GMT) passed, the streets were deserted with fearful residents staying home.

Diendere told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Tuesday that he is waiting for the results of talks on the crisis being held in Nigeria’s capital by the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS.

“I will hand over power to a civilian on the date recommended by the ECOWAS summit. I do not want to play a particular role in the transition,” the former commander of the presidential guard said. “I do not want to be prime minister.”

Diendere said he wants to avoid military units fighting against each other.

“We will find a solution between brothers in arms to avoid confrontations,” he told a news conference on Tuesday.

Government troops loyal to the transitional government had assembled around the national radio and television stations and around barracks.

“I call on the population of Burkina Faso to remain calm and to have confidence in the National Armed Forces who have reaffirmed their unfailing commitment to preserve the unity of the nation,” Gen. Pingrenoma Zagre said in a statement.

The transitional government was installed after long-term President Blaise Compaore was ousted in a popular uprising last October. Elections were to have been held next month but Diendere, who led the presidential guard under Compaore and was an adviser to him, has said that’s too early.

West African mediators want interim President Michael Kafando to be reinstalled until elections can be held. Kafando has sought shelter at the residence of the French ambassador here.

An electoral code passed earlier this year had banned members of Compaore’s party from taking part in the election. The former ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress party said one of its leaders, Achilles Tapsoba, was arrested in the south of the capital.

Just Posted

Alberta energy war room must avoid online morass, preaching to choir: experts

CALGARY — Tzeporah Berman only learned of her cameo appearance at an… Continue reading

Two dead, including one who police believe was a child, in Alberta house fire

PLAMONDON, Alta. — Two people, including one who police believe was a… Continue reading

CSIS destroyed secret file on Pierre Trudeau, stunning historians

OTTAWA — Canada’s spy service destroyed a Cold War dossier on Pierre… Continue reading

Premier refuses to back down on plan to scrap 18,000 immigration applications

Quebec Premier Francois Legault is holding firm on his plan to scrap… Continue reading

Pro-pipelines rally draws crowd to City Hall

Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Canada missing out on billions in revenue

Federal cabinet decision on fate of Trans Mountain pipeline due Tuesday

OTTAWA — The Liberal government’s $4.5 billion gamble to buy the Trans… Continue reading

Skier, 22 dies after fall on Mount Haig near Castle Mountain Ski Resort

PINCHER CREEK, Alta. — RCMP from the Pincher Creek, Alta., detachment are… Continue reading

4 years in, Trump fondly recalls Trump Tower campaign launch

NEW YORK — It was the escalator ride that would change history.… Continue reading

Massive protests draw apology from Hong Kong leadership

Hong Kong citizens marched for hours Sunday in a massive protest that… Continue reading

Butterfly garden keeper manages to film large tarantula shedding exoskeleton

VICTORIA — A 20-centimetre tarantula capable of killing a bird has been… Continue reading

Telegraph-Journal wins 2018 Michener Award recognizing public-service journalism

OTTAWA — The Telegraph-Journal in New Brunswick has been named the winner… Continue reading

Victorious Raptors cancel their return to Toronto after becoming NBA champs

TORONTO — Some Raptors players returned to Toronto on Saturday night for… Continue reading

How a Montreal working-class neighbourhood’s activists changed Quebec and Canada

MONTREAL — The Pointe-St-Charles neighbourhood is isolated from the rest of Montreal… Continue reading

Most Read