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Soldiers in Burkina Faso's capital have fired warning shots to disperse a crowd gathered in Independence Square to protest against an apparent seizure of power by the presidential guard, a witness says.
Reuters reports: Soldiers in Burkina Faso's capital fired warning shots on Thursday to disperse a crowd gathered in Independence Square to protest against an apparent seizure of power by the presidential guard, a Reuters witness said.
More than 100 people had gathered in the square by around 07:00 GMT to demand the release of the interim government, detained by the elite military unit since Wednesday.
Sporadic gunfire continued to ring out from other areas of the capital early on Wednesday morning.
Burkina Faso crisis in brief: Soldiers arrested Burkina Faso's transitional president Michel Kafando and prime minister Lieutenant Colonel Yacouba Isaac Zida on Wednesday, just weeks before the country held an election to replace its long serving leader, Blaise Compaore, who was ousted in a popular uprising last year.
Gunfire erupted in the capital Ouagadougou, hours after the two leaders were detained.
There was fear and panic in the capital Ouagadougou on Thursday, with shops closing early.
The military has since confirmed the coup, saying parliament has been dissolved.
The apparent military coup - which had raised condemnation from the United Nations, the US government and former colonial power France – has quashed hopes of a smooth transition in Burkina Faso, which became a beacon for democratic aspirations in Africa after protesters ousted Compaore.
The coup leaders, who come from an elite presidential guard unit that had disagreed publicly with the transitional government in recent months, identified themselves as the National Council for Democracy, according to AP.
euronews: #Breaking: Soldiers fire warning shots in main square of #BurkinaFaso capital to scatter crowd (Reuters witness)— Michael Voolaid (@michaelvoolaid) September 17, 2015
euronews: #Breaking: Soldiers fire warning shots in main square of #BurkinaFaso capital to scatter crowd (Reuters witness)
AFP reports: Interim parliament speaker Cheriff Sy on Thursday denounced what he said was a "coup d'Etat" in Burkina Faso after the presidential guard seized the interim president and prime minister and "dissolved" political institutions.
What is happening in the poverty-stricken Sahel nation is "clearly a coup", Sy told RFI radio, calling on the people to "immediately rise up" in response.
Reuters reports: Burkina Faso's interim president, Michel Kafando, has been stripped of his functions and the government dissolved, a military official said on state-run RTB Television on Thursday.
"We have put in place a national democracy council tasked with organising democratic and inclusive elections," said the unidentified official in military uniform.
#BREAKING - #BurkinaFaso : Presidential guard says taking power, interim govt dissolved (TV) http://t.co/FGOS39lBgt pic.twitter.com/qDqH6W91xL— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) September 17, 2015
#BREAKING - #BurkinaFaso : Presidential guard says taking power, interim govt dissolved (TV) http://t.co/FGOS39lBgt pic.twitter.com/qDqH6W91xL
The coup announcement has just announced the dissolution of the transitional government in Burkina Faso.— Jibrin Ibrahim (@JibrinIbrahim17) September 17, 2015
The coup announcement has just announced the dissolution of the transitional government in Burkina Faso.
What We Can Learn About African Leadership From Burkina Faso - Forbes http://t.co/GQeqq5NjtK pic.twitter.com/FZILxhCfrd— Breaking News (@LiveBreaknNews) September 17, 2015
What We Can Learn About African Leadership From Burkina Faso - Forbes http://t.co/GQeqq5NjtK pic.twitter.com/FZILxhCfrd
@BBCAfrica. The African Union(AU) should immediately intervene, on the Burkinafaso democracy issue. To prevent political unrest, there.— Ije Hilary (@IjeHilary) September 17, 2015
@BBCAfrica. The African Union(AU) should immediately intervene, on the Burkinafaso democracy issue. To prevent political unrest, there.
civilians defy the Presidential guards,Occupying #Ouagadougou streets: #BurkinaFaso (Pic by @fulbertkoffi ) pic.twitter.com/IPwyY73lYw— CCTV Africa (@cctvnewsafrica) September 17, 2015
civilians defy the Presidential guards,Occupying #Ouagadougou streets: #BurkinaFaso (Pic by @fulbertkoffi ) pic.twitter.com/IPwyY73lYw
#Ouagadougou orgs being told to lockdown as situation becomes uncertain after arrest of president #BurkinaFaso pic.twitter.com/7XvmFcC1Nm— Richard C Pendry (@RichardCPendry) September 17, 2015
#Ouagadougou orgs being told to lockdown as situation becomes uncertain after arrest of president #BurkinaFaso pic.twitter.com/7XvmFcC1Nm
The US has called for the immediate release of Burkina Faso’s interim president and other leaders after they were arrested by the presidential guard, according to Reuters.
"The United States strongly condemns any attempt to seize power through extra-constitutional means or resolve internal political disagreements using force," State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
SA National Editors’ Forum director Mathatha Tsedu is in the west African country.
He’s told News24: “The prime minister and two ministers are still being held. Offices of Campaore's party were torched overnight.
“Sporadic shots heard but we told it's to keep people back from the revolution square by firing in the air. The most senior person in government who is still free is Moumina Cheriff SY who is the interim speaker. He is also an editor and former Chairperson of The African Editors Forum (TAEF).
“He has called on the Burkina people to mobilise and defend their revolution and crowds have gathered at the freedom square which is where the gunshots were heard from. SY is in a secure place and fine and technically in charge of government now.”
Tsedu says the coup happened while a conference called Filep was on.
Filep is a biannual pan African gathering to look into media issues. The theme this year is Media and political changes, what contribution media makes.
SY is a patron of the conference and opened it on Wednesday saying change from Campaore was incomplete because the revolution of October did not dislodge Campaore's system, says Tsedu.
Nice shot from #Ouagadougou (courtesy of @fulbertkoffi), as civilians again defy antidemocratic forces. #BurkinaFaso. pic.twitter.com/wd1TCCRJqf— Jeffrey Smith (@Smith_RFKennedy) September 16, 2015
Nice shot from #Ouagadougou (courtesy of @fulbertkoffi), as civilians again defy antidemocratic forces. #BurkinaFaso. pic.twitter.com/wd1TCCRJqf
The United States has also called for the immediate release of the interim president, prime minister and other leaders.
“The United States
strongly condemns any attempt to seize power through
extra-constitutional means or resolve internal political disagreements
using force,” State Department spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement.
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed outrage on
Wednesday at reports of the detention of Burkina Faso's president and
prime minister and several ministers, calling for their immediate
release, Reuters reported.
"The secretary general is outraged by reports of the detention of
President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida of
Burkina Faso," Ban's press office said in a statement. "The
Secretary-General calls for their immediate release. This incident is a
flagrant violation of Burkina Faso's Constitution and Transitional
Note* Compoaré was ousted by the PEOPLE. What is happening now in #BurkinaFaso has nothing to do with the will of the people.— Zuwa Matondo (@ZuwaMatondo) September 17, 2015
Note* Compoaré was ousted by the PEOPLE. What is happening now in #BurkinaFaso has nothing to do with the will of the people.
Soldiers arrested Burkina Faso's transitional president and prime
minister on Wednesday, raising fears of a coup just weeks before the
country was to hold an election to replace its long serving leader who
was ousted in a popular uprising late last year, AP reported.
Members of the presidential security unit barred the transitional
leaders from leaving on Wednesday, and were seen putting up barricades
around the presidential palace.
Moumina Cheriff Sy, the speaker of the transitional parliament,
called Wednesday's developments "a blow to the republic and its
"I call on all patriots to gather to defend the motherland," he added, calling on members of parliament to protest.
There was no immediate claim by the military on public air waves that they now controlled the country.
News of the stand-off Wednesday created panic in Burkina Faso's capital
of Ouagadougou, where people closed shops early and headed home fearing
violent demonstrations. The protests that led to President Blaise
Compaore's ousting escalated to a point where the parliament building
was set ablaze.
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