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Burkina Faso coup leaders release interim president, two ministers

18 September 2015 22:54


Burkina Faso’s military has released interim President Michel Kafando two days after detaining him along with the country’s premier and two cabinet ministers and dissolving the transitional government in the African country.

“As a sign of easing tensions and in the general interest, the national council for democracy has decided on the release of ministers and Michel Kafando,” a Friday statement by the junta said in reference to the council formed by the coup leaders.

General Gilbert Diendere, the coup leader and a close ally of former President Blaise Compaore – who was himself toppled in 2014 – said Kafando was released to prepare the ground for political dialog.

He made the comments two days after his forces stormed a cabinet meeting and seized Kafando, Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida and two of his ministers. The coup leaders also announced the dissolution of the interim government and parliament, which had been tasked with leading the political transition in Burkina Faso after Compaore’s ouster in 2014.

Coup leaders rethinking their coup?

Diendere was named as Burkina Faso’s new leader despite condemnations from the West and the African Union (AU).

Kafando’s interim government had set October 11 for presidential and legislative elections, which would be the first in the landlocked West African nation since Compaore was forced out of power last year amid angry anti-government protests against his attempts to change the constitution and seek another term in office.

General Diendere further said, “Our wish is to reorganize ourselves and to move toward elections soon,” without elaborating on a potential timetable.

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