Soldiers stage revolt in Burkina Faso demanding reforms
Burkina Faso’s government says there is no military coup in the country amid reports that soldiers staged a revolt in several army bases to demand the departure of army chiefs and better means to fight terrorists.
The army uprising is the latest threat to president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in the face of terrorist violence that struck the country in 2015.
Heavy arms fire on Sunday at Sangoule Lamizana camp, which houses the army’s general staff and a prison whose inmates include soldiers involved in a failed 2015 coup attempt, began as early as 5am (05:00 GMT)
The government reacted by acknowledging gunfire in army barracks but denied a "takeover by the armed forces".
According to government sources discussions have started between representatives of the armed forces and the minister of Defence, General Barthélémy Simporé.
Speaking on national television on Sunday, Simporé denied rumors that President Roch Marc Kabore had been detained
Earlier in the day, supporters of the soldiers set fire to the headquarters of the ruling party before being dispersed by the police.
On Saturday, incidents broke out in Ouagadougou and other cities between police and demonstrators supporting the military revolt who defied a ban on gathering to protest against insecurity in the country.
The unrest came a day after clashes between police and demonstrators during protests against the authorities’ failure to stem violence ravaging the West African country.
It also follows the arrest earlier this month of numerous soldiers over a suspected plot to “destabilise institutions” in the country, which has a long history of coups.
The upheaval coincides with the much-anticipated trial of 14 people for the 1987 overthrow of President Thomas Sankara, a young leader of Burkina Faso whose progressive ideals and anti-imperialist stances inspired many Africans. Mr. Sankara’s violent death during the coup, led by a former friend, cast a decades-long shadow across the country.
Sankara transformed what was then the former French colony of Upper Volta into Burkina Faso, which means "Land of the Upright Men".