Burkina Faso military dissolves government following overnight coup
The military in Burkina Faso have overthrown the government and seized power, plunging the Central African country into chaos.
Army officers took to the airwaves to declare they now control the country, confirming reports that a military backed coup has taken place.
The statement came a day after members of the elite presidential guard unit of the military arrested President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida, weeks before nation was due to hold elections for a new government.
The coup was apparently led by allies of the country’s longtime ruler Blaise Compaoré, who was toppled in October.
In the announcement aired early on Thursday on national television and radio, military spokesperson Lt. Colonel Mamadou Bamba said the transitional government in the Central African country had been dissolved and replaced with what he called the ‘National Council for Democracy’.
The council is led by General Gilbert Diendéré, a close ally of Mr Compaoré, who was in power for 27 years until his government was toppled last year.
Lt. Col. Bamba said it was necessary to “put an end” to the temporary government, which he said had deviated from the goals of the October 2014 revolt.
The country’s borders have been sealed and all flights in and out have been cancelled.
Warning shots were fired this morning at supporters of the ousted interim president and prime minister following protests in the capital, with many yelling: “Free the hostages!”
The crisis began Wednesday evening when the two officials, as well as two ministers, were seized during a cabinet meeting.
The newsroom of Radio Omega, a station that was central in reporting news of the 2014 uprising, was stormed.
The journalists were forced to cut off the signal, and the offices were set on fire.
The statement broadcast by the military criticised the upcoming elections, which had blocked members of the ex-president's party from taking part.
Lt. Col. Bamba said the coup was “the beginning of a coherent, fair and equitable process" that would lead to inclusive elections.