Burkina Faso guards take hostage interim president, premier
Guards loyal to Burkina Faso’s toppled president Blaise Compaoré have taken hostage the country’s interim president, prime minister, and senior ministers, a move that has sparked broad international condemnation.
Soldiers from Compaoré’s powerful Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) “burst into the cabinet room at 2:30 p.m. and kidnapped the President of Burkina Faso Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida, and two ministers,” interim parliament speaker Cheriff Sy said in a statement on Wednesday.
The detained cabinet members are Public, Labor and Social Security Service Minister Augustin Loada and Housing and Urban Development Minister Réné Bagoro.
According to reports, the troops stationed near the presidential palace fired gunshots on Wednesday evening to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who had gathered there in protest against the hostage-taking.
The RSP, a key pillar of the ousted president’s rule, has not yet given any explanation for the move.
Compaoré came to power in 1987 through a military coup, and had been the president of the impoverished Sahel African nation for the last 27 years. In October, he was ousted by demonstrations after he attempted to change the constitution to seek a new term.
In a joint statement, the United Nations, the African Union, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have called for “the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages.”