Soldiers say military junta now controls Burkina Faso
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — More than a dozen mutinous soldiers declared Monday on state television that a military junta had seized control of Burkina Faso after detaining the democratically elected president following a day of gunbattles in the capital of the West African country.
The military coup in a nation that was once a bastion of stability was the third of its kind in the region in the last 18 months, creating upheaval in some of the countries hardest hit by Islamic extremist attacks.
Capt. Sidsore Kaber Ouedraogo said the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration “has decided to assume its responsibilities before history.” The soldiers put an end to Kabore’s presidency because of the deteriorating security situation and the president’s inability to manage the crisis, he said.
It was not immediately known where President Roch Marc Christian Kabore was, and the junta spokesman said only that the coup had taken place “without any physical violence against those arrested, who are being held in a safe place, with respect for their dignity.”
A soldier in the mutiny, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of situation, told The Associated Press that Kabore had submitted his resignation.
The new military regime said it had suspended Burkina Faso’s constitution and dissolved the National Assembly. The country’s borders were closed, and a curfew was in effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Ouedraogo said that the country’s new leaders would work to establish a calendar “acceptable to everyone” for holding new elections without giving further details.
After the televised announcement, crowds took to the streets, cheering and honking car horns in support of the takeover. People hoped that the coup would ease the devastation they have endured since jihadist violence spread across the country.
“This is an opportunity for Burkina Faso to regain its integrity. The previous regime sunk us. People are dying daily. Soldiers are dying. There are thousands of displaced,” said Manuel Sip, a protester in downtown Ouagadougou. The army should have acted faster in ousting the president, he said.
After the overthrow of strongman Blaise Compaore in 2014, several people told the AP they no longer cared if they had a democratically elected leader. They just wanted to live in peace.
The communique read aloud on state broadcaster RTB was signed by the country’s apparent new military leader, Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba.