Gunfire near home of Burkina Faso’s leader after army mutiny

Jan 22, 2022, 11:45 AM | Updated: Jan 23, 2022, 4:09 pm
A mutinous soldier fires into the air at the Bobo interchange, near the Lamizana camp in Burkina Fa...

A mutinous soldier fires into the air at the Bobo interchange, near the Lamizana camp in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou Sunday Jan. 23, 2022. Witnesses are reporting heavy gunfire at a military base raising fears that a coup attempt is underway. Government spokesman Alkassoum Maiga acknowledged the gunfire but denied that the military had taken over the West African country. (AP Photo/Sophie Garcia)

(AP Photo/Sophie Garcia)

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Gunfire rang out late Sunday near the home of Burkina Faso’s embattled President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, raising the specter that a military coup might still be under way after mutinous soldiers seized a military base earlier in the day.

Government officials had sought to reassure people that the situation was under control even as shots rang out for hours at the army base. But by day’s end anti-government protesters supporting the mutineers also had set fire to a building belonging to Kabore’s party.

It was not immediately known whether Kabore was at home but several people in the area told The Associated Press that in addition to gunfire they could hear helicopters hovering overhead.

A mutinous soldier also told AP by phone that heavy fighting was under way near the presidential palace, a claim that could not immediately be independently corroborated.

Sunday’s mutiny came one day after the latest public demonstration calling for Kabore’s resignation as anger has mounted over the government’s handling of the Islamic insurgency. Anti-government protesters lent public support to the mutinous soldiers, prompting security forces to use tear gas to disperse crowds in the capital.

The West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS, which already has suspended Mali and Guinea in the past 18 months over military coups, issued a statement of support for Burkina Faso’s embattled president and urged dialogue with the mutineers.

Defense Minister Aime Barthelemy Simpore told state broadcaster RTB that a few barracks had been affected by unrest not only in the capital of Ouagadougou but in other cities, too. He denied, however, that the president had been detained by the mutineers, even though Kabore’s whereabouts remained unknown.

“Well, it’s a few barracks. There are not too many,” Simpore said. “In some of these barracks, the calm has already returned. So that’s it for the moment. As I said, we are monitoring the situation.”

A news headline on the state broadcaster described the gunfire as “acts of discontent by soldiers.”

“Contrary to some information, no institution of the republic has been targeted,” the headline continued.

At the Lamizana Sangoule military barracks in the capital, however, angry soldiers shot into the air Sunday, directing their anger over army casualties at the president. About 100 motorcycles later left the base, chanting in support of the mutineers, but were stopped when security forces deployed tear gas.

The soldiers put a man on the phone with The Associated Press who said that they were seeking better working conditions for Burkina Faso’s military amid the escalating fight against Islamic militants. Among their demands are increased manpower in the battle against extremists and better care for those wounded and the families of the dead. The mutinous soldiers also want the military and intelligence hierarchy replaced, he said.

There were signs Sunday that their demands were supported by many in Burkina Faso who are increasingly distressed by the attacks blamed on al-Qaida and Islamic State-linked groups. Thousands have died in recent years from those attacks and around 1.5 million people have been displaced.

“We want the military to take power,” said Salif Sawadogo as he tried to avoid tear gas on the streets of Ouagadougou. “Our democracy is not stable.”

Kabore first took office in 2015, winning the election held after longtime President Blaise Compaore was ousted in a popular uprising.

Still, Kabore has faced growing opposition since his reelection in November 2020 as the country’s Islamic extremism crisis has deepened. Last month he fired his prime minister and replaced most of the Cabinet, but critics have continued calling for his resignation.

On Sunday, protesters who supported the army mutiny said they had had enough of Kabore even though the next presidential election isn’t until 2025. Demonstrator Aime Birba said the violence under Kabore has been unlike anything Burkina Faso experienced during the nearly three decades Compaore was in power.

“We are currently under another form of dictatorship,” he said. ” A president who is not able to take security measures to secure his own people is not a president worthy of the name.”

Earlier this month, authorities had arrested a group of soldiers accused of participating in a foiled coup plot. It was not immediately known whether there was any connection between those soldiers and the ones who led a mutiny Sunday. Military prosecutors said nine soldiers and two civilians were being held in connection with the plot.

West Africa has seen a spate of military coups in West Africa over the past 18 months, causing the regional bloc known as ECOWAS to suspend two member states simultaneously for the first time since 2012.

In August 2020, a mutiny at a Malian military barracks led to the democratically elected president being detained. He later announced his resignation on national television, and the junta leader there doesn’t want new elections for four more years.

In September 2021, Guinea’s president also was overthrown by a military junta that remains in power to this day.

Burkina Faso, too has seen its share of coup attempts and military takeovers. In 1987, Compaore came to power by force. And in 2015, soldiers loyal to him attempted to overthrow the transitional government put into place after his ouster. The army was ultimately able to put the transitional authorities back in power, who led again until Kabore won an election and took office

___

Associated Press writers Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal, and Arsene Kabore in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A protestor wearing body paint that reads "Stop Raping Us" in the color of the Ukrainian is removed...
Associated Press

Protester crashes Cannes carpet at George Miller premiere

CANNES, France (AP) — A woman who stripped off her clothes to reveal a message against rape written on her body crashed the Cannes Film Festival red carpet premiere of George Miller’s “Three Thousand Years of Longing” on Friday. The unidentified woman tore off her clothes during the film’s red carpet procession to reveal the […]
1 day ago
In this photo released by Lebanon's official government photographer Dalati Nohra, Lebanese preside...
Associated Press

Outgoing Lebanon government approves economic recovery plan

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s outgoing government on Friday approved a recovery plan for pulling the Mideast nation out of its economic meltdown, the country’s information minister said. The development came during the Cabinet’s last official meeting before it becomes a caretaker government following last weekend’s parliamentary elections. The plan is a first step on a […]
1 day ago
FILE - Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award i...
Associated Press

Judge dismisses lawsuit against Musk, Tesla and Twitter fan

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge in California dismissed a securities fraud and defamation lawsuit filed by a Tesla investor against CEO Elon Musk, one of Musk’s a supporters and Tesla. In an order filed Thursday, Judge James Donato threw out the lawsuit by the investor, Aaron Greenspan, who runs a legal document website. […]
1 day ago
FILE - Rolando Alvarez, Bishop of Matagalpa, attends a press conference regarding the Roman Catholi...
Associated Press

Nicaraguan bishop fasts to protest police harassment

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Roman Catholic bishop in Nicaragua began an “indefinite fast” Friday inside a church to protest increasing harassment from national police, who he said followed him throughout the entire previous day. Rolando Álvarez, the bishop of Matagalpa and a fierce critic of President Daniel Ortega’s government, said in a video published […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Six juveniles charged in man’s shooting death in Kansas

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas prosecutor says he wants to try four 14-year-olds as adults in the shooting death of a Missouri man. They are among six teenagers charged in juvenile court with first-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Marco Cardino, of Smithville, Missouri. The two other suspects are 13 and cannot be […]
1 day ago
FILE — Former President Donald Trump speaks from the podium during a campaign rally, May 1, 2022,...
Associated Press

Trump pays $110K fine, must submit paperwork to end contempt

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump has paid the $110,000 in fines he racked up after being held in contempt of court for being slow to respond to a civil subpoena issued by New York’s attorney general. Trump paid the fine Thursday but must still submit additional paperwork in order to have the […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Gunfire near home of Burkina Faso’s leader after army mutiny