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Government forces in Burkina Faso storm holdout rebel camp

30 September 2015, 07:45

Ouagadougou - Government forces in Burkina Faso stormed a camp of holdout rebels who refused to disarm late Tuesday, a news report said.

"The rebel elements of the former presidential guard have remained inflexible in their will to defy the Burkinabe people, by refusing to disarm" despite an agreement on Sunday, the government said in a statement carried by news outlet Burkina24.com.

In response, the guards' barracks near the capital "were liberated by our valiant Defence and Security Forces," it said.

The presidential guard staged a failed coup two weeks ago.

Also Read: Heavy gunfire heard at barracks in Ouagadougou

Coup leader Gilbert Diendere earlier called on the "uncontrolled" elements of his followers to surrender and avoid a "bloodbath," speaking on radio station Omega FM.

Nearby residents were told to stay home "for security reasons," after some of the presidential guard refused to disarm, army chief Pingrenoma Zagre said, according to Burkina24.


Before the fighting broke out, witnesses had reported soldiers driving tanks near the presidential barracks, and some members of the presidential guard were seen surrendering to the military police.

Police, meanwhile, arrested Djibrill Bassole, a former foreign minister under ousted president Blaise Compaore, to whom the presidential guard had remained loyal, according to media reports. Bassole was suspected of backing the coup.

The army on the weekend had started supervising the disarming of the 1 200-member presidential guard, but then said that some of its members were refusing to hand over their weapons, while Diendere was not giving them clear orders to do so.

Also Read: Burkina Faso asks public not to attack coup unit

African Union representative Smail Chergui told Omega FM on Tuesday that the parties to the conflict should "do all to avoid bloodshed".

The presidential guard took interim President Michel Kafando, interim Prime Minister Isaac Zida and two ministers captive on September 16.

Under pressure from the regular army and West African leaders, coup leaders agreed several days later to hand power back to civilian authorities.

The interim government was reinstated last week, and announced on Friday that it was disbanding the presidential guard.

The coup leaders had opposed plans to integrate the presidential guard into the army. They also wanted Compaore loyalists to be allowed to contest elections due later this year, reversing a ban.

Compaore fled in October 2014 to Ivory Coast following massive protests against plans to extend his 27-year rule.



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