Tags: AF | Burkina | Faso | Coup

Burkina Faso Military Says Its Troops Trying to Disarm Junta

Monday, 21 September 2015 01:29 PM

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Burkina Faso's military warned Monday that its forces were converging on the capital with the goal of disarming the junta behind last week's coup, as tensions mounted over the political impasse.

A statement attributed to the heads of the National Armed Forces said that the troops aim to remove the coup leaders from power without spilling blood. However, the military's move threatened to escalate tensions on the ground and raised the specter of violent clashes.

"We demand that they put down their weapons and rejoin Camp Sangoule Lamizana," the statement said, promising that the returning soldiers and their families would be protected.

The soldiers who seized power last week belong to a presidential guard unit that is loyal to ex-President Blaise Compaore, and the general installed as president Thursday is a former top aide to Compaore.

Junta members said they were angered that members of Compaore's former ruling party could not take part in elections that were set for Oct. 11. Compaore was president for 27 years, and his bid to further extend his rule prompted massive street protests that led to his ouster.

The mediators led by the presidents of Senegal and Benin announced a plan late Sunday that calls for new elections by the end of November. However, Gen. Gilbert Diendere — installed by the junta as the new head of state — did not attend the news conference where the draft agreement was read aloud. It was unclear whether he would abide by the plan that calls for him to step aside until the elections can be organized.

The plan drafted by mediators is supposed to go before the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS in Nigeria on Tuesday, but the military's announcement Monday appeared to leave little time left for negotiations.

The streets of Ouagadougou remained tense Monday, and many demonstrators said they felt the ECOWAS compromise plan was too lenient on the junta.

"We want Burkina Faso to be free!" one demonstrator shouted.

"One man cannot be allowed to take the whole country hostage," another unnamed protester added.

Associated Press journalist Ludivine Laniepce contributed to this report.

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Burkina Faso's military warned Monday that its forces were converging on the capital with the goal of disarming the junta behind last week's coup, as tensions mounted over the political impasse.A statement attributed to the heads of the National Armed Forces said that the...
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2015-29-21
Monday, 21 September 2015 01:29 PM
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