A day after Burkina Faso’s Presidential Security Regiment (RSP – Régime de sécurité présidentielle) loyal to ousted leader Blaise Compaore detained interim President Faso Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida, the officers have announced the dissolution of what they say is a “deviant regime”.
A television announcement by the putschists who now call themselves the National Council for Democracy (CND –Conseil National pour la Démocratie) on Thursday morning failed to bring a confused Ouagadougou, the Burkinabe capital, under control.
I call on all patriots to mobilise to defend the motherland
Heavy gunfire by the RSP at the capital’s revolutionary square, in part to deter anti-coup demonstrators, was reported as the CND declared Gilbert Diendéré president of the country.
Sources close to Benin’s presidency, according to Jeune Afrique, have revealed that President Boni Yayi, ECOWAS mediator in the Burkinabe crisis, and Gilbert Diendéré spoke by telephone on Wednesday night.
On Wednesday, members of Compaore’s powerful RSP marched into the Cabinet room at 2:30 pm and kidnapped Kafando, Zida and two ministers (Augustin Loada and Rene Bagoro).
Interim parliament speaker Cheriff Sy told AFP on Wednesday that the interim leaders were being detained in the presidential palace.
Sy described the kidnappings as a “a serious attack on the republic”.
“I call on all patriots to mobilise to defend the motherland. Duty calls us because the Burkinabe nation is in danger,” he said.
“We call on the solidarity that active forces, political forces, civil society and the international community have with all the people of Burkina Faso to defeat this operation.”
During the raid, broadcasts by Radio France Internationale and the private Omega radio station were cut.
According to Omega radio director, Alpha Barry, RSP troops had interrupted programming and threatened to kill staff if they did not stop transmitting.
The timing of the detention is likely to plunge the West African country into civil unrest.
The move triggered immediate street protests outside the presidential palace in the capital city of Ouagadougou.
Eyewitnesses said soldiers tried to disperse several hundreds of demonstrators by firing their guns in the air.
Protesters gathered with whistles and vuvuzelas near the palace, shouting “Down with the RSP” as they condemned the hostage-taking.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also said he was “outraged” by the developments, and the “incident is a flagrant violation of Burkina Faso’s constitution and transitional charter.”
Blaise Compaore was toppled in October 2014 and fled into exile in Ivory Coast after a popular uprising triggered by his attempt to extend his 27-year rule.
A transitional government has been charged with running the Sahel nation until presidential and legislative elections are held, the first round of which is to take place on October 11.
Compaore has not made any public comments. However his party’s headquarters- Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) party has been ransacked by protesters.