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Mutinous soldiers in Burkina Faso detained the nation’s president and asked him to sign a resignation letter, people familiar with the matter said a day after an army mutiny. Picture: BLOOMBERG
Mutinous soldiers in Burkina Faso detained the nation’s president and asked him to sign a resignation letter, people familiar with the matter said a day after an army mutiny. Picture: BLOOMBERG

Mutinous soldiers in Burkina Faso detained the nation’s president and asked him to sign a resignation letter, people familiar with the matter said a day after an army mutiny.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore is being held at a military camp, the people said, asking not to be identified because they’re not authorised to speak to the media. Calls to government spokesperson Alkassoum Maiga weren’t answered when Bloomberg sought comment.

News of Kabore’s detention came after a day of unrest in Burkina Faso on Sunday, when soldiers at several army bases opened fire, including at the military airport in the capital, Ouagadougou. The government imposed a curfew between 8pm and 5.30am and ordered schools to remain closed on Monday. Mobile internet services have been cut, according to Netblocks, a private business that monitors disruptions to connectivity.

Kabore, 64, has faced growing opposition to his government’s failure to tackle a mushrooming Islamist insurgency that’s destabilised other countries in the region including Mali, Niger and Ivory Coast since it began six years ago. Burkina Faso is Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer, where companies including Endeavour Mining and Iamgold own mines.

In November, protesters took to the streets calling for Kabore’s resignation after 49 military police were killed in an attack on a police base in the north of the country. Demonstrations escalated after an internal army document showed the officers had been left without food. 

Teargas

Sunday’s shootings came a day after security forces fired teargas at demonstrators demanding Kabore’s ousting. Protesters also ransacked the headquarters of the ruling People’s Movement for Progress.

The UN special envoy to West Africa, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, cautioned on January 10 that “incessant” attacks by terrorist groups could lead to further destabilisation in Burkina Faso. 

There were initial signs of a military revolt earlier this month, when a dozen soldiers were arrested on suspicion of plotting a coup, according to the military prosecutor’s office. The soldiers involved in the latest unrest want better resources to fight the insurgents, including more troops, and the replacement of the nation’s top military commander, according to an audio recording obtained by Voice of America.

“We’re tired of Kabore,” said Alidou Nikiema, one of the youth who took to the streets. “We want him to resign and for power to be handed to the military.”

Kabore has been in power since 2015, a year after long-serving leader Blaise Compaore was ousted in a popular uprising.

Bloomberg. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com


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