Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Burkina Faso coup barracks retaken

Burkina Faso’s interim government says the army has retaken the barracks of the presidential guard that staged a coup earlier this month.

The army had surrounded the barracks where the presidential guard is based
The army had surrounded the barracks where the presidential guard is based

Officials announced the takeover in a televised statement. It is not clear if there were any casualties.

Earlier, a BBC correspondent in the capital Ouagadougou said shots and explosions were heard and smoke seen rising from the barracks.

The army accuses the presidential guard of not laying down arms after the coup.

Coup leader Gen Gilbert Diendere, whose whereabouts are still unknown, had called on the elite force to surrender “to avoid a bloodbath”.

He told the AFP news agency that he feared there had been “many deaths” as the barracks were seized.

The army had surrounded the barracks all day and army spokesman Capt Guy Herve Ye said artillery was fired at the complex before soldiers moved in and took control.

The presidential guard, who number between 1,000 and 3,000 people, are said to be the most well-trained troops in the West African state.

Amid the standoff at the barracks, the city’s international airport has been shut and residents have been told to stay indoors.

The presidential guard ceded power last Wednesday after the army opposed the coup they staged a week earlier.

The reinstated government says it has dissolved their elite unit, which is loyal to former president Blaise Compaore and Gen Diendere.

Mr Compaore was ousted in a popular uprising last year after attempting to change the constitution to extend his 27-year rule.

Djibril Bassole, who served as Mr Compaore’s foreign minister, has been detained over allegations that he supported the coup, security sources said.

He has denied the allegation.

Throughout Tuesday, troops equipped with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades were stationed at several intersections in Ouagadougou, AFP reported.

Speaking to the BBC, Gen Diendere called on his men to lay down their weapons but said that some members of the presidential guard unit were now acting on their own.

About 10 people were killed in protests which followed the coup.

Gen Diendere is Mr Compaore’s former chief of staff, but denies that he had any contact with him before he staged the coup.

He gave power back to the government following a deal brokered by regional leaders, and said the coup was a “mistake”.

The deal requires the presidential guards to disarm, but few of them have done so, correspondents says. BBC