Burkina Faso coup leader denies contact with ex president

Burkina Faso coup leader denies contact with former president after military officials confirmed coup has taken place in country weeks before national elections

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A protester wearing a Burkina Faso flag attends a protest against the presidential guard in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, September 16, 2015

Burkina Faso coup leader on Thursday denied contact with former president Blaise Compaore, after military officials confirmed coup had taken place in country, weeks before national elections.

Although there was no contact with Compaore, the current ruling of the country by the interim government and election preparations had forced the presidential guard to act said Gilbert Diendere, a general in the guard and the former right-hand man of the former president.​

Burkina Faso was getting ready to hold national elections on Oct. 11, which was considered to be a transition to democracy, after Blaise Compaore - who had been president for 27-year - was ousted in a public uprising late last year. 

However, Diendere stated that this may now changed as it will be discussed with political parties and the international community.

"There may be some kind of sanctions to face but we will ask the international community to be understanding of Burkina Faso," said Diendere who promised to release the president and prime minister according to Reuters.

"We are going to discuss with the international community to see how quickly we can organize elections" he added.

According to reports, at least three were killed so far and 60 have been injured in the clashes. 

Earlier on Thursday a military official, broadcasted over national television and radio that the transitional government has been dissolved and interim president is no longer in power.

The army in Burkina Faso has taken airwaves to proclaim that they are taking control of the country, and confimed that a coup has taken place weeks before the election.

"We have put in place a national democracy council tasked with organising democratic and inclusive elections," the official said on state-run RTB television.

The statement came a day after members of the elite presidential guard unit of the military arrested Burkina Faso’s interim President Michel Kafando, the president and two cabinet members escalated demonstrations with soldiers, shooting to disperse protesters.

The coup, announced on Thursday, drew attention of world leaders including France and the United States who condemned the recent events taking place in the country.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, ordered for the release of officials and ending the transition.

Moumina Cheriff Sy said in a statement on Wednesday night that “members of the presidential guard burst into the room of the cabinet of ministers at around 14:30 and took hostage the president of Burkina Faso, the Head of State, Michel Kafando, the Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida, and the minister of public administration... and the minister of housing.’’

In a report presented to Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida, a former commander of the presidential guard, the national reconciliation and reform commission named the 1,200 strong military unit as "an army within an army."

One of the main causes in the conflict has been the ongoing disagreement between the transitional officials and the country’s elite presidential security unit, who were responsible for Wednesday’s deadlock.

TRTWorld and agencies