Two rebellious soldiers informed The Associated Press via phone Monday that Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christ Christian Kabore was being held hostage by mutinous troops. While they didn’t say exactly where Kabore was being held, the soldiers said that he was safe.
Late Sunday night, gunshots could be heard near the presidential residence. In the early hours Monday morning, a fight took place at the presidential Palace while a helicopter flew above. Sunday night was quiet in the capital, except at checkpoints guarded heavily by mutinous soldier.
RTB state-owned news station was tightly guarded Monday morning.
On Sunday, fighting broke out when soldiers took over the Lamizana Sangoule military base in Ouagadougou. As a gesture of support, civilians marched into the city but were dispersed by security forces using tear gas. This mutiny occurred a day following a demonstration demanding Kabore’s resignation. It was the latest anti-Kabore protest as anger mounts over Kabore government’s handling the Islamic insurgency.
Since Sunday’s statement by Minister of Defense Aime Barthelemy Simpore to state broadcaster RTB, the government hasn’t made any statements. He said that some barracks were affected not just in Ouagadougou, but also in other places. He said that Kabore was not in custody and denied that he had been held by mutineers.
It’s only a handful of barracks. Simpore stated that there aren’t too many.
Kabore was the head of Burkina Faso’s government since 2015 when he was elected following popular protests that overthrew President Blaise compaore. Compaore had been president for almost 30 years. Kabore was elected to a second five-year term in November 2020. However, his inability stem the tide of jihadist violence has caused frustration. Attaques linked to al Qaida or the Islamic State group continue to escalate, killing thousands and forcing more than 1.5million people from their homes.
Since the 2016 outbreak of extremist violence, military personnel have suffered heavy losses. Since 2016, more than 50 Sahel-based security forces were killed, and 9 security personnel were killed at the Center North.
Angry mutinous soldiers claimed that the government had disconnected itself from the forces on the ground and that they were seeing their fellow soldiers die. They wanted to see military rule. One of the soldiers called and said they wanted better conditions for Burkina Faso’s military in the face of the increasing fight against Islamic terrorists. They also demanded more manpower to fight extremists, and better treatment for the wounded and their families.
According to one of the rebel soldiers, around 100 military personnel have been planning the overthrow since August. According to him, the organizers did not meet in the exact same spot more than two times and were always located outside of the capital. To plan the event, they used WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegraph as messaging apps, he stated.
Local experts agree that Kabore’s government was too stretched, however it seems unlikely that any mutiny would change things.
“Burkina Faso is a deeply ill-prepared and unprepared army for the war that it was asked to win. It is out of its depth. The frustration it feels with an out-of-its depth government is normal. It is understandable that it feels frustrated with an equally out of its depth government.
Burkina Faso’s populace already supports a takeover after weekend protests.
This insecurity is making people tired. Everyday, many people die. Burkina has areas that are difficult to access. “We have lost a large part of our territory,” Jean-Baptiste Ilboudou, a civil near the military base from which gunshots could be heard, said.
The ECOWAS West African regional bloc (also known as ECOWAS) has been suspending Mali and Guinea for the past 18 month over military coups.
An earlier month, authorities arrested several soldiers who were suspected of being involved in a plot to overthrow the government. Although it was unclear if there were any connections between the soldiers being held and those involved in this coup, Two civilians and nine soldiers were being held by military prosecutors in connection to the plot.
In West Africa, there have been a number of military coups over the past 18 month. This has caused ECOWAS (the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) to temporarily suspend two members states at once for the first time ever since 2012.
The democratically elected president was detained after a Malian military prison mutiny in August 2020. Later, he resigned on national television. The leader of the Malian junta doesn’t plan to hold elections for at least four additional years.
A military junta still in power also overthrew Guinea’s President on September 20, 2021.
Burkina Faso has also seen its fair share of military coups and attempted coups. Compaore came into power through force in 1987. In 2015, Compaore’s loyal soldiers attempted to topple the new transitional government. The army managed to restore power to the transitional authorities, and they led until Kabore was elected as president.