Ouagadougou (AFP) – At least one person died and scores more were injured Thursday in protests in Burkina Faso after a coup led by a close ally of toppled strongman Blaise Compaore.
The latest unrest to hit the west African nation came just weeks ahead of presidential and legislative elections, slated for October 11, aimed at restoring democracy after Compaore was forced out late last year, ending 27 years of iron-fisted rule.
Doctors at the main hospital in the capital Ouagadougou said a man had died of injuries sustained on Wednesday when he was shot in coup-linked violence, and that at least 60 others had been admitted for various injuries.
Protests erupted in several places in the former French colony. In the second city of Bobo-Dioulasso, shops were closed and soldiers remained in their barracks, residents said.
“There are crowds on the streets,” a taxi driver said, adding that the home of a member of Compaore’s party had been torched.
Angry residents erected barricades in other towns and cities after presidential guard members loyal to Compaore burst into a cabinet meeting on Wednesday and seized acting president Michel Kafando, prime minister Isaac Zida, and two ministers.
Zida was an officer in Compaore’s powerful Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) before he toppled his old boss after days of street protests in October 2014.
Dissolving the country’s political institutions, the guards immediately announced the establishment of a “National Democratic Council” which would end “the deviant regime of transition” and create a government which would organise “inclusive” elections.
General Gilbert Diendere, Compaore’s former chief-of-staff, was appointed head of the council, which announced a night-time curfew with land and air borders closed until further notice.
Speaking to French television, Diendere said he had had no contact with Compaore and claimed he was backed by the country’s powerful army.
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