Burkina Faso’s president Roch Kaboré has been detained and is being held by mutinous soldiers, sources told international news agencies on Monday. Shots were fired near the president’s home in the capital Ouagadougou on Sunday evening, his whereabouts have been unknown since then. It is not yet clear whether there was a coup d’etat. The French embassy in the country, a former French colony, called the situation “confusing” on Monday.
The unrest in the country started earlier on Sunday when a group of soldiers forcibly seized control of an army base in the capital. Some soldiers in the country have long been dissatisfied with the lack of support they are receiving from the government in their fight against Islamic extremists, Reuters news agency reported. In recent years, they have regularly carried out bloody attacks in Burkina Faso.
Civilians gathered on Sunday to show their support for the mutinous military but were dispersed with tear gas. The day before, Burkinese protested in Ouagadougou, asking for Kaborés to resign. Like the military, they are dissatisfied with the government’s handling of Islamic extremism in the country.
The French Embassy in Burkina Faso says in first message French schools in the country will remain closed on Monday and Tuesday. Two Air France flights that were scheduled to depart on Monday evening have also been cancelled. French citizens in the country have been urged to leave their homes only in emergencies.
A terrorist attack on a military convoy in late August killed 47 people, including 30 civilians. It was the third time in two weeks that more than 10 people were killed in an extremist attack in the northern Sahel region alone. Earlier that month, jihadists in Sahel killed 30 people. The attacks, which have been taking place regularly in Burkina Faso since about 2015, are often blamed on groups affiliated with Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaida.
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