Burkina Faso's president dissolves government

Blaise Compaore issues decrees announcing appointment of officials who will be in charge until a new cabinet is named.

     

    Members of the presidential guard said they are claiming many things, including bonuses [AFP]

    Burkina Faso's president has dissolved his government and named a new army chief following a mutiny by members of his presidential guard.

    In three separate decrees, Blaise Compaore, announced on Friday that "the secretaries-general of the ministries will be in charge of current affairs" until a new cabinet of ministers is appointed on a date he did not specify.

    He also named Colonel-Major Honore Nabere Traore as army chief to replace General Dominique Djindjere.

    Mutiny broke out late on Thursday in two barracks, including one in the compound of Compaore's residence in the capital Ouagadougou, and spread on Friday to three other army bases in the capital, mutineers and army officers said.

    Witnesses described scenes of chaos in the city as soldiers went on a rampage, commandeering cars and looting shops.

    "I was going in the direction of the Lamizana [military] camp when I heard the gunfire. I saw people rushing back towards me, so I turned around and went back home," said Pierre Tapsoba, a resident of the Gounghin neighbourhood in the west of Ouagadougou.

    Chaotic scenes
       
    "I haven't been out since. It's bad."
       
    A second witness said he had seen soldiers in four-wheel-drive pick-up trucks speeding in the streets and firing in the air. One taxi driver was dragged out of his car, which was taken by the soldiers.

     

    Soldiers looted many consumer goods' stores in the city centre and several people, including civilians, were slightly injured.

    They also ransacked a private radio station, Savane FM, putting it off the air and roughing up staff for no apparent reason, management said.

    Compaore has faced a series of protests since February, staged first by students and then by soldiers.

    The president strove to reassert his authority on Friday, holding talks on the grievances of the soldiers, which included housing and food allowances.

    A military source later said their demands had been met.

    Compaore, in power since a 1987 military coup, slipped out of Ouagadougou during the night to spend a few hours in his home town, Ziniare, around 30km north of the capital, but returned later, a source at his residence said.

    The Reuters news agency reported the president was at his palace on Friday afternoon for talks with the chief of the UN mission in neighbouring Ivory Coast.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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