President Detained

Jan 25, 2022

Mutinous soldiers in Burkina Faso have reportedly detained President Roch Marc Christian Kabore at a military camp, following heavy gunfire near the presidential palace in the capital Ouagadougou overnight on 23-24 January 2022. Local sources suggest that five members of the president’s security detail were wounded in the gunbattle. Military personnel were present at the state television headquarters in the city, and mobile internet services have been disrupted. The president’s detention follows heavy gunfire at military barracks in Ouagadougou and elsewhere in the country since the morning hours of 23 January. Shots were reported near the Guillaume and Sangoulé Lamizana military camps, located west of Ouagadougou, as well as in the northern cities Kaya and Ouahigoyua. In response, the government decreed a countrywide nightly curfew during 2000-0530 local time/UTC. Government officials denied claims of a potential military takeover, stating that the situation was under control.

The latest developments follow anti-government demonstrations in Ouagadougou on 22 January against deteriorating security conditions nationwide and increasing jihadist violence, especially in the northern part of the country. Police officers fired tear gas at demonstrators, who demanded better working conditions for soldiers fighting against militant Islamist groups. The headquarters of the ruling People’s Movement for Progress party was also set ablaze during the demonstration. Authorities announced on 12 January that 10 military personnel and five civilians were arrested in relation to a plot to overthrow the government. Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel Zoungrana and his accomplices were taken into custody for the alleged plan to stage a coup. President Kabore had dismissed Zoungrana from his post in December 2021, following an attack the previous month on a military base in the northern town of Inata in Soum province. Kabore dismissed several other senior military and government officials after the attack, which caused public outrage in the country and prompted demands for Kabore’s resignation.

 

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