Gunfire in Burkina Faso capital

2011-04-15 09:27
Ouagadougou - Gunfire erupted on Thursday night at the presidential compound in Burkina Faso as military bodyguards demanding housing allowances reportedly began firing their weapons.

President Blaise Compaore is apparently not in the presidential compound, a source there said on condition he not be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the press.

It was not immediately clear if there were casualties. The shooting came from the military barracks of the presidential guard, the source said.

About two hours after the shooting began at 22:00, gunfire was also heard near the state radio station in Ouagadougou, the capital. Employees at the station contacted by The Associated Press said no one was hurt there. Some were hiding in the building.

No official statement was made and officials could not be reached after business hours.

Compaore, who seized power in a bloody coup 23 years ago, was re-elected by a landslide in a November vote rejected by the opposition as being rigged. The former army captain took power in 1987 in the small West African nation after the former leader was gunned down in his office.

Burkina Faso has been hit by unrest recently. On April 8, people took to the streets of Ouagadougou to protest soaring prices of basic foods.

In March, students torched government buildings in several cities to protest a young man's death in custody. The government said he had meningitis, but accusations of mistreatment have fueled deadly protests, killing at least six others.

Burkina Faso is near the bottom of the United Nation's Human Development Index, which measures general well-being, ranked 161 out of 169 nations. It has high rates of unemployment and illiteracy, and most people get by on subsistence agriculture.

- AP
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