Burkina Faso court charges general, ex-minister over coup


General Gilbert Diendere
General Gilbert Diendere

A court in Burkina Faso has charged a general and a former foreign minister with crimes including threatening state security and murder in the wake of a short-lived coup last month, judicial sources said.

General Gilbert Diendere led a putsch by elite presidential guard soldiers that saw them take the country’s president, prime minister and members of the transitional government hostage less than a month before elections.

Though the week-long power grab failed, some of his forces resisted an order to disarm, forcing the army to attack their base in the capital Ouagadougou last week. Diendere, a former spy chief, was handed over to authorities on Thursday after initially seeking refuge in the Vatican embassy.

Djibril Bassole, once foreign minister, was also arrested in connection with the coup.

The two men, who are close allies of deposed long-time leader Blaise Compaore, were each charged with 11 offences, according to two sources familiar with Tuesday’s proceedings.

Other charges included colluding with foreign forces to destabilise interior security, voluntary assault, and wilful destruction of property, the sources said.

At least 11 people were killed and 271 injured as the presidential guard crushed protests against their actions.

Burkina Faso is due to hold presidential and general elections on Sunday.

The polls, which may be delayed due to the coup, are meant to restore democratic rule a year after mass demonstrations forced Compaore from power as he sought to change the constitution to extend his 27-year rule.

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