Burkina Faso gets new prime minister

Ambassador to France to lead new government following a mutiny by soldiers and days of riots in West African country.

    Smoke rises during riots by street vendors in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso's capital, on Saturday [AFP]

     

    Burkina Faso's president has appointed a new prime minister following days of riots and protests involving soldiers, police and students in the West African country.

    Luc-Adolphe Tiao, Burkina Faso's ambassdor to France, was named as prime minister late on Monday, three days after his predecessor, Tertius Zongo, was dismissed by president Blaise Compaore.

    An elite group of soldiers also called for an end to the unrest, saying that they wanted their colleagues to stop protesting. They also apologised for the disturbances.

    "We invite our brothers in arms around the country to stop the protests because we now see the damage that can be caused within the civilian population, which we are well advised to protect and defend," said Moussa Ag Abdoulaye, a member of the group.

    Earlier, Burkina Faso's state TV said students had burned down the ruling party headquarters and the prime minister's house in the central city of Koudougou, the Associated Press news agency said.

    In the northern town of Kaya, soldiers and paramilitary police fired shots in the air, torched the home of an army regiment chief and ransacked that of a regional officer, residents told the AFP news agency by telephone.

    The incidents follow a mutiny by soldiers that started last week in the capital, Ouagadougou, and has spread north and east.

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    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.

    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".

    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.

    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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