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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Burkina arrests 11 failed coup soldiers after arms depot raid

Eleven former members of the elite Burkinabe presidential guard which staged a brief but failed coup last year were arrested after a raid Friday on an arms depot near the capital, the army said Sunday.

Senior military official Mahamadi Bonkoungou said all 11 people detained were ex members of the RSP unit, which was disbanded after briefly seized power in September in a failed coup and taking Burkina Faso’s interim president hostage.

Bonkoungou called for “collaboration” with the public, saying that after the attack security was stepped up and that police were still looking for 15 soldiers linked to the raid.

The attack on the arms depot was staged by “a dozen ex-RSP members” at around 4 a.m. (0400 GMT) Friday with a security guard injured in the attack, Bonkoungou said.

The perpetrators failed to take ammunition but stole several kalashnikovs and anti-tank rocket grenade launchers. 

The army announced it would release photos of the suspects still on the loose to “encourage the population to participate in their arrests”. 

The attack did not claim any victims and the depot at Yimdi, 20 kilometres west of Ouagadougou, is now under the control of the army, the army said on Saturday.

The unit’s former chief General Gilbert Diendere mounted a putsch on September 17 using crack troops from the RSP, a group loyal to former head of state Blaise Compaore, who was ousted in a popular uprising in 2014.

September’s coup was thwarted by street protesters and support from the army, which attacked the plotters’ barracks. At least 11 people were killed and 271 were injured in the demonstrations.



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