Heavy Gunfire at Burkina Faso Base 01/23 09:23
Heavy gunfire rang out at a military base in Burkina Faso's capital early
Sunday, prompting fears that a coup attempt was underway after weeks of growing
frustration with the government's handling of the Islamic insurgency wracking
the West African country.
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) -- Heavy gunfire rang out at a military base
in Burkina Faso's capital early Sunday, prompting fears that a coup attempt was
underway after weeks of growing frustration with the government's handling of
the Islamic insurgency wracking the West African country.
The mutinous soldiers seized control of the Lamizana Sangoule military
barracks in Ouagadougou, the capital. The government put out a statement
acknowledging gunfire in army barracks but denying an army takeover of the
Defense Minister Aime Barthelemy Simpore told state broadcaster RTB that a
few barracks had been affected not only in Ouagadougou but in "some cities
elsewhere." He denied, however, that President Roch Marc Christian Kabore had
been detained by the mutinous soldiers, even though his whereabouts remained
A news headline on the state broadcaster described the gunfire as "acts of
discontent by soldiers."
"The military hierarchy is working to restore calm and serenity in the
barracks," it read. "Contrary to some information, no institution of the
republic has been targeted."
At the Lamizana Sangoule military barracks, 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.
The gunfire comes a day after protesters demanded his resignation at a
demonstration in Ouagadougou. Kabore has faced growing opposition since his
reelection in November 2020. Last month he fired his prime minister and
replaced most of the Cabinet.
Violence in the once peaceful West African nation is escalating as attacks
linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group increase. Thousands have died in
recent years and around 1.5 million people have been displaced.