Burkina arrests 93 troops after mutiny

2011-06-07 09:20

Ouagadougou - The Burkina Faso military has arrested 93 soldiers for alleged involvement in a mutiny, an officer told AFP, after disgruntled troops wreaked havoc in the economic capital for days last week.

Six soldiers and a 14-year-old girl were killed in the south-western city of Bobo Dioulasso on Friday when military units ended the rampage by looting soldiers demanding higher wages, in an echo of troop unrest in April.

"We have 93 mutineers," said the operation's commanding officer. This was up from the 57 arrests announced on Friday.

Some had reported to the camp on Monday but there were others on the run, he said. "We are looking for them with the help of the populace," he said.

"The clean-up operation is continuing. Every day there are arrests and we find arms and items that were stolen. We will carry on until the job is done," he said.

Bobo Dioulasso Mayor Salia Sanou said government ministers met on Monday with businessmen affected by the violence, which erupted on Tuesday.

He said about 80% of the goods stolen had been recovered.

Around two dozen civilians and eight soldiers were also wounded in the operation to end the mutiny, officials have said.

A curfew has been eased to run from 21:00 to 05:00.

Protests broke out in Burkina Faso in February over high food prices, unemployment, rising costs and looting by troops.

Soldiers and paramilitary police joined the unrest in April, going on the rampage in several towns.

In a bid to quell the unrest, President Blaise Compaore fired army and police chiefs in April and formed a new government, naming himself defence minister, while promising subsidies on basic commodities and other urgent measures.

Compaore seized power in a 1987 coup and has been re-elected four times since 1991.

Most of the population is destitute while the political elite are largely wealthy, according to the opposition.