Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré was detained in a barracks in Ouagadougou on Monday, a day after mutinies in military bases in this Jihadist-infested country.A security source told AFP that “President Kaboré, the Speaker of Parliament (Alassane Bala Sakandé), and ministers are essentially in the hands of soldiers” at the Sangoulé Lamizana barracks in Ouagadougou, which was corroborated by another security source.
President Kaboré, who had been in power since 2015 and was re-elected five years later on the promise of prioritizing the anti-jihadist fight, had been increasingly challenged by a populace fed up with jihadist violence and his inability to cope with it. A dozen hooded and armed soldiers were stationed in front of the headquarters of Radio Television of Burkina (RTB), which was transmitting entertainment programs, according to an AFP journalist.
Soldiers in Burkina Faso mutinied on Sunday, demanding the dismissal of army chiefs and “necessary tools” to combat jihadists who have terrorized the country since 2015. According to residents, shots were fired late in the day near the president’s mansion, and a helicopter flew over the area with all lights turned off.
The coups occurred in a West African region increasingly destabilized by jihadists, who are also attacking neighboring Mali and Niger, as well as Mali and Guinea, where recent coups have occurred. Several violent rallies have taken place in several towns around Burkina Faso in recent months to protest the government’s inability to combat the rising number of jihadist attacks, which are frequently outlawed and dispersed by riot police.
Demonstrators supported the mutineers throughout the day on Sunday, erecting impromptu blockages in numerous avenues of the city until they were dispersed by police, according to AFP journalists. Gunshots were reported for several hours Sunday in various Burkina Faso barracks, including those in Sangoulé Lamizana, Baba Sy, and the Ouagadougou airbase. According to citizens and military sources, mutinies also occurred in Kaya and Ouahigouya, in the north of Burkina Faso, where the majority of jihadist attacks are focused.
The administration admitted that gunshots were heard in many barracks, but denied that “the army had taken control.” President Kaboré declared a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. (local and GMT) on Sunday evening, and the government announced the closure of schools on Monday and Tuesday. “We want resources appropriate to the fight” against terrorists “and corresponding manpower,” as well as “replacement” of the national army’s highest ranking officials, said an anonymous soldier from the Sangoulé Lamizana barracks in an audio clip supplied to AFP.