Burkina coup leader asks his men to surrender

  • 30/09/2015
 Soldiers guard positions near the Naaba Koom military base in Burkina Faso (Reuters)
Soldiers guard positions near the Naaba Koom military base in Burkina Faso (Reuters)

Heavy firing erupted at the barracks of an elite military unit which staged a short-lived coup in Burkina Faso as their leader asked his troops to lay down their arms to "avoid a bloodbath".

The Burkinabe military on Tuesday (local time) meanwhile warned it was giving the failed putschists "yet another chance" to give up their weapons in line with a peace deal mediated by regional powers.

An AFP journalist said dust was rising in the sky above the Naaba Koom II barracks in the capital Ouagadougou next to the presidential palace following heavy weapons fire at the barracks where the RSP presidential guard have been holed up.

"A last chance was given to the former presidential guard and we are giving them yet another chance to surrender to avoid a confrontation," said Lieutenant Colonel Aziz Ouedraogo, an army spokesman.

He said around 300 soldiers had ringed the barracks, adding there "have been no clashes we are just positioned and awaiting orders."

Coup leader General Gilbert Diendere told AFP that an assault by government troops on the barracks was "over" and that he was ready to face justice.

"I am not in the camp ... I will put myself at the disposal of my country's judiciary," he said, speaking over the telephone.

But the military said the attack was at an "advanced stage" and had not finished.

Diendere also asked his men to surrender in a message cited by Omega radio station.

"I am asking elements of the RSP to lay down their arms to avoid a bloodbath," Omega quoted Diendere as saying.

Although the unit abandoned its attempted coup last week, the guards have failed to lay down their weapons and remained inside their barracks, prompting a new standoff with the government.

A RSP source told AFP that the process of disarming had been held up because a government pledge to ensure the safety of the putschists and their families was not being respected.