Burkina Faso coup leaders release interim Prime Minister

Burkina Faso interim prime minister
Burkina Faso interim prime minister has been released

Burkina Faso coup leaders have released interim Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida, who had been held hostage since the revolt began, his adviser has told Reuters.

Interim President Michel Kafando, who was taken hostage in the coup and then placed under house arrest, sought protection in the French ambassador’s residence in the capital on Monday.

“The prime minister is free. He has returned to his official residence (in the capital Ouagadougou),” said Lieutenant Boris Nadie, Zida’s aide-de-camp.

Meanwhile, Ex-spy chief General Gilbert Diendere and his presidential guard rebelled on Wednesday, raiding a cabinet meeting and detaining the president and other ministers.

The rebellion derailed a transition in Burkina Faso, which had been preparing for an election on October 11 in a vote aimed to restore democracy nearly a year after an uprising toppled President Blaise Compaore who held power for 27 years.

Troops loyal to Burkina Faso’s government massed in the capital on Tuesday and told soldiers behind a coup to disarm and surrender by 10 am or face attack, a loyalist officer said, setting up a showdown over control of the country.

Rebel soldiers still controlled the presidential palace, but troops that oppose the coup held most other key points in Ouagadougou, witnesses said.

The situation remained fluid and loyalists said the rebelling soldiers had already started negotiations on the conditions of their surrender.

Huge crowds took to the streets of the capital and other cities, calling on the rebels to end their revolt. But streets were largely empty on Tuesday as the loyalist army called on people to return to their homes.

“They (the presidential guard) have until 10 a.m. to lay down their weapons and surrender at the Camp Sangoule Lamizana,” the loyalist officer said, referring to a military barracks west of the capital Ouagadougou.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari was due to hold an extraordinary summit on Burkina Faso in Abuja on Tuesday after mediators from the West African bloc ECOWAS announced on Sunday a draft agreement aimed at ending the crisis.

Supporters of the government rejected the proposal on the grounds that it gives amnesty to the coup leaders.

“We have no interest in the proposal that will be discussed at the summit because right now we are in the process of solving our own contradictions,” Sheriff Sy, president of interim transitional council told Reuters.

His rejection of the proposal was echoed by members of civil society as well as by protesters in the capital Ouagadougou who burned tyres and blocked streets on Monday in a show of opposition to the ECOWAS move

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Story By Benjamin Wafula
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