Burkina Faso’s army seeks seven ex-presidential guards for armoury raid

Soldiers stand guard in front of the Splendid Hotel after an attack on the hotel ...
Soldiers stand guard in front of the Splendid Hotel after an attack on the hotel and a restaurant in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, January 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Burkina Faso’s armed forces on Sunday published in local media the names and images of seven members of its dissolved presidential guard wanted in connection to an attack two days ago on an armoury near Ouagadougou.

The authorities have already arrested 11 members of the disbanded elite guards in connection with Friday’s raid, during which army officials said the attackers seized Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers.

Burkina Faso is still reeling from an attack by gunmen on a hotel and restaurant on Jan. 15 that was claimed by Islamist militants and during which 30 people were killed, most of them foreigners.

In a statement published alongside the photographs of the wanted men, the army said: “They are in little groups of two or three and on motorcycles. Prevent them from fleeing.”

The elite presidential guard was disbanded after members loyal to former president Blaise Compaore mounted a six-day coup against Burkina Faso’s transitional government in September in which members of the cabinet were taken hostage, before handing power back to the government under heavy international pressure.

Friday’s raid is the first time the disbanded guard has carried out an action of this kind since their coup attempt failed.

The West African country has been fragile since popular protests in 2014 ousted longtime leader Compaore, who had sought to amend the constitution to prolong his 27-year rule.

Roch Marc Kabore was elected president in November, ending over a year of transitional rule.

(Reporting by Mathieu Bonkongou; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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