Compaore to meet troops amid protests

2011-03-31 09:25

Ouagadougou - Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore has announced he will meet representatives from the armed forces on Thursday after a week of protests by rampaging soldiers who have sown terror among citizens.

In an address to the nation broadcast on radio and television, Compaore said he would receive "representatives from various armed forces".

He was speaking after a week of violence by the country's soldiers.

In Ouagadougou last week several soldiers fired in the air and looted stores to protest the conviction of five colleagues in a sex scandal.

The convicted men were freed after the five-hour protest.

And on Tuesday soldiers fired a rocket at the main courthouse in the eastern city of Fada N'Gourma, a day after freeing a comrade jailed for rape from prison and blocking the entrance to the town with tanks.

The army chief of staff meanwhile released a statement announcing a curfew from Wednesday night between 21:00 and 06:00.

But fresh unrest broke out in the capital Ouagadougou overnight, with shots heard around 22:00 coming from a military barracks just a kilometre north of the presidency, according to an AFP journalist.

"It is elements from within the camp who are shooting, we went to chase them away," a presidential security officer told AFP.

Bullet holes

In his broadcast, Compaore said: "The past few days, elements of the armed forces have refused to accept judicial decisions, have seized weapons of war and ammunition to terrorise the population and have committed acts of pillage."

"Such behaviour will not be tolerated in a state of law."

Earlier on Wednesday Simon Compaore, the mayor of Ouagadougou and number three of Burkina Faso's ruling party, was injured when angry soldiers ransacked his home.

Angry soldiers left their barracks in the east of Ouagadougou, shooting in the air and going on the rampage in Compaore's home, said an aide to the mayor, who is also secretary general of the ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress.

"The mayor's home was completely vandalised, he was injured. He is undergoing examination at a clinic," the aide said.

An AFP journalist said the walls of his house were pitted with bullet holes.

The home of the army chief of staff, Dominique Djindjere, was also targeted, AFP noted.