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24 Jan, 2022 18:45

Military claims power in Burkina Faso coup

Members of the African nation’s military say they’ve deposed the president, seized control, and suspended the constitution
Military claims power in Burkina Faso coup

Members of Burkina Faso’s military appeared on state television channel, RTB, on Monday, claiming to have seized control of the West African nation. The soldiers said that they had suspended the constitution due to the failure of Kaboré to unite the country and stop a wave of nationwide jihadist attacks.

Kaboré’s whereabouts are currently unknown, but he was reportedly detained by the soldiers on Sunday night, the AFP news agency reported. Although heavy gunfire was reported throughout the capital, Ouagadougou, on Sunday night, the government denied a coup attempt was underway or that Kaboré had been detained. A news headline on RTB on Sunday described the gunfire as isolated “acts of discontent by soldiers,” and insisted that “the military hierarchy is working to restore calm and serenity in the barracks,” according to the AP news agency. 

Some of the soldiers told AP they had planned the mutiny since August, and were angered by the apparent failure of Kaboré to commit more manpower and resources to the fight against jihadism. As gunfire rang out in Ouagadougou, civilians reportedly protested in solidarity with the soldiers.

In a statement released on Monday, Kaboré’s political party, the People's Movement for Progress, claimed the president had survived an “aborted assassination attempt” during the coup, and that his home had been ransacked. The party gave no further information as to his whereabouts.

Kaboré has led Burkina Faso since 2015, when he was elected to replace ousted president Blaise Compaoré, who had been in power since 1987. Kaboré was re-elected in November 2020, but has come under increasing pressure since then to tackle the jihadist violence that has plagued Burkina Faso and the wider Sahel region since 2016, predominantly led by Boko Haram and local offshoots of Al-Qaeda.