Reports earlier suggested that there were gunfire incidents heard at a military facility in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou as a coup was underway
In an organized coup d’état, the West African nation Burkina Faso's mutinous army deposed President Roch Kabore, suspended the constitution, dissolved the government and the national assembly, and sealed the borders after the siege. The military announced its political takeover of the country reading from the document signed by Burkina Faso army’s lieutenant-colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba LIVE on state television, according to video broadcasts.
The development came just hours after now-ousted leader Kabore said that he was detained by the soldiers, an incident that came shortly after a previously foiled attempt by the army at overthrowing the democratically elected government.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said that he “strongly condemns any attempted takeover of government by the force of arms”, calling the events a “coup," according to his latest statement.
Reports earlier suggested that there were gunfire incidents heard at a military facility in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou. People's Movement for Progress, president Kabore’s party, announced in a statement that the African leader and one other official have managed to survive an assassination attempt following army mutiny. Faso's army officer announced on state TV that the forces have overthrown President Roch Kabore, suspended the constitution, and dissolved both the ruling government and parliament.
The latter said that the military’s takeover was done without any violence and that those detained were held at a secure location. For the first time using the term Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration or MPSR, the army said in the LIVE telecast: “MPSR, which includes all sections of the army, has decided to end President Kabore’s post today,” according to African press reports. Faso’s military condemned the deteriorating security situation within the African country and described Kabore as incompetent who was unable to unite the nation and effectively respond to the challenges it faces.
The United States asked for the "immediate release of President Kabore and other government officials and for members of the security forces to respect Burkina Faso’s constitution and civilian leadership."
State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a news briefing “we urge all sides in this fluid situation to remain calm and to seek dialogue as a means to resolve grievances.”
People cheer in support of putschist soldiers near the national television station in Ouagadougou. Two mutinous soldiers told The Associated Press that Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kabore is being held by the rebellious soldiers. [Credit: Sophie Garcia/AP]
Mutinous soldiers are seen in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on Sunday. [Credit: Sophie Garcia/AP]
Heavy gunfire at army camps seized by coupling soldiers; President's whereabouts unknown
The coup was declared just two days after the anti-governmental unrest rocked the capital Ouagadougou, where heavy gunfire erupted at army camps seized by the mutinous soldiers on Sunday. Anti-government protesters supporting the mutineer military set fire to a building that belonged to President Kaboré's party. Kabore’s whereabouts are still unknown. It was not immediately clear what happened to Burkina Faso’s leader after the gunfire sounds resonated. Eyewitnesses told The Associated Press reporters on the ground that in addition to gunfire, they could hear helicopters hovering overhead. And since then the president hasn’t been seen.
"UN Secretary-General is following developments in Burkina Faso with deep concern. He is particularly worried about the whereabouts and safety of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, as well as the worsening security situation, following the coup carried out on January 23rd by sections of the armed forces," United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
Both the African Union and the West African bloc ECOWAS have demanded that the military give details of the President’s whereabouts, citing threats to his safety. A heavy firing was also heard at the presidential palace, but it could not be established whether the military targeted the President. Burkina Faso has been witnessing weeks of anti-government protests and unrest as angry civilians demanded the resignation of their president questioning his handling of the Islamist insurgency into the country. Neighbouring Mali and Guinea in the past 18 months have also witnessed a similar kind of coup and a military takeover, but both nations have been suspended by the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS.