Burkina Faso’s interim leader, Captain Ibrahim Traore, has said he was the target of a coup attempt last week, local media reported.
The military leader confirmed that some elements of the army wanted to seize power, the reports said, saying he made the announcement in a meeting in the capital Ouagadougou on Thursday.
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Last weekend, there was speculation after rumours circulated on social media networks of a coup attempt against the transitional government.
On Sunday night and Monday, demonstrators presenting themselves as Traore’s supporters gathered in the capital to protest against the alleged attempted coup.
Addressing civil society organisations and religious leaders in Ouagadougou, Traore said he knows the perpetrators, but he prefers dialogue instead of arresting them, local Radio Omega reported.
The president asked for the support of everyone because some “forces” are trying to sabotage the government’s efforts and undermine morale, it said.
“The president openly told the participants there was an attempted coup against his government last weekend. He said he knew the perpetrators but preferred not to arrest them in favour of dialogue,” the report said, quoting a participant who attended the meeting.
“The captain asked the participants to be vigilant and to be ready because the path to democratic rule will not be easy.”
The president reportedly claimed that there is money being distributed to influence certain elements to destabilise the government and asked those in the meeting not to fall for it.
Burkina Faso has already seen two coups this year.
In September, Traore, 34, led a group of disgruntled soldiers who deposed Lt Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who had seized power in a January coup against the elected government of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
One of the world’s poorest countries, Burkina Faso is also struggling with a seven-year armed uprising that swept in from neighbouring Mali. Thousands of people have died, hundreds of thousands are displaced, and more than a third of the country lies outside the government’s control.