Fresh riots reported in Burkina Faso

State TV says ruling party offices and prime minister's house in Koudougou attacked, amid mutiny by soldiers over pay.

    A curfew was imposed in Ouagadougou, the Burkinabe capital, on Saturday following unrest on the streets [AFP]

    Burkina Faso's state TV says students have burned down the ruling party headquarters and prime minister's house in the central city of Koudougou, the Associated Press reports.

    The incidents coincide with a mutiny by soldiers that started in the west African country's capital, Ouagadougou, last week and that has spread north and east.

    Before Monday's protests, students demonstrated in Koudougou in February and March over a jailed student who they said died because of poor police treatment. Those demonstrations left five people dead.

    Mutinous soldiers rampaged on Sunday through a southern town as the revolt against Blaise Compaore, the West African nation's ruler, entered its fourth day.

    Soldiers at a military garrison in Po, near the Ghana border, fired in the air, looting and seizing private vehicles, residents told the AFP news agency.

    Two people were injured in the firing, a hospital source said.

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    Po, about 140km south of Ouagadougou, houses a training school for Burkinabe military officers.

    The government said the soldiers were protesting over payment of housing and daily food allowances.

    "These were young soldiers and there were at least 300 of them," another resident of the town told the Reuters news agency.

    "They are moving through town and they continue to fire in the air. They are taking people's motorbikes and cars and breaking up shops," he said.

    Compaore's government warned on Sunday that it would take action against anyone using illegal arms with "the full force of the law".

    "For several days, soldiers and civilians ... have been using firearms in violation of regulations," the security ministry said in a statement.

    "This state of affairs will not be tolerated in a state with the rule of law."

    The security ministry said it was demanding "strict respect for rules on the use of military and civilian arms and munitions" and warned that "all offenders will face the full force of the law".

    Nights of looting

    Soldiers in Ouagadougou began shooting at the presidential compound late on Thursday, sparking two nights of looting by soldiers.

    Hundreds of traders rioted and set fire to the headquarters of the ruling party on Saturday, in protest against the soldiers looting their shops.

    The mutiny has prompted Compaore to sack his government, the army chief and his head of presidential security.

    Compaore, who came to power in a 1987 military coup, has faced a series of protests since February, staged first by students and then by soldiers.

    He won a new five-year term in office after taking 80 per cent of the votes in November elections. Burkina Faso ranks 161 out of 169 countries on the UN Human Development Index, a composite measure of the quality of life.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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