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Burkina Faso foils coup attempt, arrests four army officers

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Dallas Hughes

Sep 28, 2023

Junta leader says he is committed to the liberation of the country despite adversity

Burkina Faso's new military leader Ibrahim Traoré. REUTERS - VINCENT BADO

(XtrAfrica) Burkina Faso’s ruling military junta said on Thursday that it had thwarted a coup attempt by some army officers and arrested four of them, while two others were still on the run.

The junta, led by Captain Ibrahim Traore, said in a statement that the intelligence and security services had detected and neutralized a “proven coup attempt” on Wednesday. It did not provide any details on the motives or the targets of the plotters.

The public prosecutor’s office at the military court in Ouagadougou, the capital city, said in a separate statement that four army officers had been arrested and two others were being actively sought in connection with the coup attempt.

Burkina Faso has been gripped by political turmoil and insecurity since 2014, when a popular uprising toppled longtime president Blaise Compaore, who had ruled the West African nation for 27 years.

Traore seized power in a coup on September 30 last year, after interim president Michel Kafando and prime minister Isaac Zida were detained by members of the presidential guard loyal to Compaore. The coup was widely condemned by the international community and faced resistance from civil society and other army factions.

Traore later released Kafando and Zida and agreed to restore the transitional government, which was tasked with organizing elections. However, he remained in charge of the junta, which he said was necessary to ensure security and stability in the country.

Traore has also clashed with France, the former colonial power, over its role in the region. He accused France of interfering in Burkina Faso’s internal affairs and supporting armed groups that have been wreaking havoc in the Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert.

Earlier this month, Burkina Faso’s military leaders signed a mutual defense pact with the juntas in Mali and Niger, two neighboring countries that have also experienced coups and violence in recent years. The pact aims to coordinate efforts to combat terrorism and restore peace and democracy in the tri-border region.

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