President of Burkina Faso in West Africa ‘detained’ by rebellion soldiers

2022-01-24 17:32:05
President of Burkina Faso in West Africa ‘detained’ by rebellion soldiers

Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore was detained by mutinying soldiers, security officials in the West African nations said.

The troops leading the apparent coup said Kabore’s government failed to support them during the country’s years-long conflict with armed groups.

The news reports on Monday came a day after soldiers staged mutinies at several army barracks, prompting fears of a coup. Later on Sunday, heavy gunfire was also heard near Kabore’s residence in the capital, Ouagadougou.

On Monday morning, several armoured vehicles from the presidential fleet, riddled with bullets, could be seen near the residence. One was spattered with blood.

Two security sources and a West African diplomat told media outlets that Kabore was detained at a military camp. There was no immediate comment by the government, which on Sunday had denied that a coup was under way.

Talks between representatives of the soldiers and Defence Minister General Barthelemy Simpore failed to make headway, a government source said.

About a dozen hooded troops stationed themselves in front of the national broadcaster RTB, but it was not immediately clear if they were from the mutineers or had been sent by the government.

“President Kabore, the head of parliament, and the ministers are effectively in the hands of the soldiers” at the Sangoule Lamizana barracks in the capital, two security officials said.

Two of the rebellious soldiers told media outlets by phone that Kabore was being held “in a safe place”, but would not specify where.

Military coups in West Africa, a legacy of French colonialism

Military coups in West African countries, which have increased significantly in recent years, are the most important legacy of the Western colonial powers.

In their grab for influence and resources, colonial powers drew artificial borders across the Middle East and Africa, often arbitrarily splitting traditional tribal territories into new states.

These Western imperialists turned African countries into hotbeds of conflict and war, exposing them to violent changes of power to the point that the number of coups exceeded 200 since the late 1950s.

There's been a noticeably higher than average number of coups in the past two years compared with the previous two decades.

While African countries have been striving for national unity since gaining independence from European colonists, most are still involved in political crises and military coups.

Experts say Europe's arbitrary post-colonial borders left Africans bunched into countries that don't represent their heritage, a contradiction that still troubles them today.

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