Burkina soldiers told to disarm

  • 22/09/2015

Burkina Faso's army chiefs have ordered coup soldiers to lay down their weapons as troops headed for the capital Ouagadougou from the provinces.

The stark warning on Monday came amid growing anger at a west African mediated peace deal to end the latest crisis in the landlocked and poor nation.

"All the national armed forces are converging on Ouagadougou with the sole aim of disarming the presidential guard (RSP) without any bloodshed," an army statement said.

"We ask them to lay down their arms and go the Sangoule Lamizana camp where they and their families will be safe," it said, referring to a military barrack west of the capital.

A military source said soldiers were headed for Ouagadougou from the country's second city Bobo Dioulasso in the west and nearby Dedougou, Kaya and Fada N'Gourma in the east, and Ouahigouya in the north.

Burkina was plunged into turmoil on Wednesday when soldiers from the powerful presidential guard regiment loyal to ex-leader Blaise Compaore detained interim president Michel Kafando and prime minister Isaac Zida.

The RSP, an elite unit of 1300 men, officially declared a coup the following day and installed General Gilbert Diendere, a close Compaore ally, as the country's new leader.

At least 10 people were killed and more than 100 injured in protests sparked by the coup, which came just weeks before the first elections were to be held since Compaore was ousted in a popular revolt last October after trying to extend his 27-year grip on power.

Following the coup, Senegal's President Macky Sall, the rotating head of the Economic Community of West African States, undertook three days of mediation in a Ouagadougou hotel and came up on Sunday with a 12-point plan to end the crisis.