In address on state television, mutinous soldiers say they have dissolved the government and suspended the constitution.
Burkina Faso’s army has announced it has deposed President Roch Kabore, dissolved the government and the national assembly, and suspended the constitution, seizing control of the country after two days of unrest at army camps in the capital.
The announcement, signed on Monday by Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba and read by another officer on state television, said the takeover had been carried out without violence and those detained were in a secure location. The country’s borders have also been closed, it added.
Burkina Faso gov’t denies army takeover after barracks gunfireend of list
The statement was made in the name of a previously unheard of entity, the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration or MPSR, according to its French language acronym.
“MPSR, which includes all sections of the army, has decided to end President Kabore’s post today,” it said.
It cited the deterioration of the security situation and what it described as Kabore’s inability to unite the nation and effectively respond to the challenges it faces.
The statement said the MPSR would re-establish “constitutional order” within a “reasonable time”, adding that a nationwide nightly curfew would be enforced.
The army broadcast came after two days of confusion and fear in the capital Ouagadougou, where heavy gunfire erupted at army camps on Sunday, with soldiers demanding more support for their fight against armed groups.
President Kabore’s whereabouts was not immediately known.
Security sources earlier gave conflicting accounts of Kabore’s situation, with some saying he was being detained by the coup organisers and others saying forces loyal to him had taken him to a secure location.
Earlier, Kabore’s party said he had survived an assassination attempt, but gave no details. Several armoured vehicles belonging to the presidential fleet could be seen near Kabore’s residence on Monday, riddled with bullets. One was spattered with blood.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said in a statement that he “strongly condemns any attempted takeover of government by the force of arms”, calling the events a “coup”.
The United States said it was “deeply concerned” about developments in Burkina Faso, and urged a swift return to civilian rule.
“We condemn these acts and call on those responsible to deescalate the situation, prevent harm to President Kaboré and any other members of his government in detention, and return to civilian-led government and constitutional order,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. “We acknowledge the tremendous stress on Burkinabé society and security forces, but urge military officers to step back, return to their barracks, and address their concerns through dialogue.”
Before the army statement, the African Union and the West African bloc ECOWAS both condemned what they called an attempted coup, saying they held the military responsible for Kabore’s safety.
The landlocked country, one of West Africa’s poorest despite being a gold producer, has experienced numerous coups since independence from France in 1960.
Kabore – in power since 2015 and re-elected in 2020 – had faced waves of protests in recent months amid frustration about killings of civilians and soldiers by armed groups, some of whom have links to ISIL (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. READ MORE