Troops block entry to Burkina Faso town

2011-03-29 13:08
Ouagadougou - Angry Burkinabe soldiers on Monday blocked the entrance to a town in the east of the country after freeing a comrade jailed for the rape of a teenage girl, a local official said.

In Fada N'Gourma, 220km east of the capital Ouagadougou, "soldiers blocked the entry to the town with tanks, we can't go in or out", a source from the local governor's office said.

They then left in the direction of Koupela, 45km north, stopping tanker trucks to fill up with petrol before heading to Tenkodogo, 78km from Fada N'Gourma, the source said.

In Koupela, a journalist told AFP his vehicle had been "seized by the soldiers" who traversed the town shooting into the air, armed with rocket launchers and Kalashnikovs.

In Tenkodogo, soldiers also shot into the air, "on their way to the military barracks" where some 50 soldiers joined them, a resident said.

On Monday morning, the soldiers of the 32nd Infantry Commando Regiment freed a comrade jailed for the rape of a teenage girl after shooting in the air for around two hours and terrifying residents, a local official said.

In a similar incident involving the military, several soldiers in Ouagadougou last week streamed out of their barracks, fired in the air and looted stores to protest the conviction of five colleagues in a sex scandal.

Shooting in broad day light

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

In Fada N'Gourma on Monday, the soldiers "did not steal like their comrades in Ouagadougou but the shops closed", a government source said.

"Around 07:30-08:00, soldiers left the camp and started shooting in the air in the town with Kalashnikovs," a resident said.

"People lay down on the ground in their offices and houses. All activities stopped," he said, adding the shooting lasted about two hours.

"People have never seen that at Fada, shooting in broad daylight. People panicked," said another resident, Karim Lompo. "We all hid in the house, we did not know if it was going to start again or not."

The head of the army, General Dominique Djindjere, was summoned to meet President Blaise Compaore on Monday, officials said.

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