James Archibald / Cape Town, Sep 17 () - In Burkina Faso, landlocked country in West Africa, a military unit has taken over control of Burkina Faso, while the transitional government had been dissolved and the interim president was no longer in power, announced early on Sep. 17 on national radio and television.
On Sep. 16, ruling President Michel Kafando was arrested along with Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida and several other ministers, after soldiers stormed into the cabinet and barricaded roads outside parliament in the West African country’s capital, Ouagadougou.
The country was due to have elections next month, with the current leaders only having been in place temporarily after having ousted long-ruling former president Blaise Compaore in October last year.
The coup was launched by the National Council for Democracy, made up of members of the presidential guard, a unit that still supports former president Compaore.
The announcement marked the international agenda as the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union and the United Nations have condemned the takeover. Accordingly, United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon called for the immediate release of Kafando, Zida and the other ministers, labeling the incident as a “flagrant violation of Burkina Faso’s Constitution and Transitional Charter”.
Ki-moon urged that the United Nations stood firmly behind the transitional authorities and President Kafando, noting the strong support of the people of Burkina Faso for a peaceful transition and urging compliance with the transitional calendar, including the upcoming elections.
South African National Editors’ Forum director Mathatha Tsedu, currently in the country for a media conference, told News24.com, “The prime minister and two ministers are still being held. Offices of Campaore's party were torched overnight.
“Sporadic shots heard but we told it's to keep people back from the revolution square by firing in the air. The most senior person in government who is still free is Moumina Cheriff SY who is the interim speaker. He has called on the Burkina people to mobilise and defend their revolution and crowds have gathered at the freedom square which is where the gunshots were heard from” Tsedu added.