Burkina Faso mutiny enters third day

2011-04-16 12:23

Ouagadougou – Soldiers from three barracks took to the streets of the Burkina Faso capital overnight, firing into the air and pillaging as their mutiny entered a third day, an AFP journalist reported today.

After President Blaise Compaore dissolved his government and named a new army chief last night in a bid to reassert his authority amid the protest, shots could be heard in several areas of Ouagadougou until 4am (local time).

The mutiny, which started Thursday in two barracks in the capital, has spread to a third barracks some about 5km from the city centre.

Witnesses said mutineers looted consumer goods and jewellery stores in the city centre as well as several suburbs.

Passers-by also joined in the pillaging, they said.

Despite the unrest, life went on as normal in Ouagadougou, although banks, which are normally open today, were closed.

Compaore has faced countrywide protests by young people, magistrates, soldiers and businessmen demanding change.

On Thursday and yesterday, even his presidential guard, among the best-paid soldiers, rose up, ending their mutiny only after receiving their promised housing allowances.

Other soldiers however are continuing their uprising.

The mutiny prompted Compaore on Friday to dissolve the government of Prime Minister Tertius Zongo and to name Colonel-Major Honore Nabere Traore as army chief to replace General Dominique Djindjere.

On Thursday, tens of thousands of people staged a protest against the high cost of living in one of the biggest demonstrations seen in many years in Ouagadougou.

Compaore, himself a former army captain, was re-elected in November with more than 80% of the vote, having won all elections since 1991 after coming to power in a 1987 military coup. 

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