Burkina Faso President Back in Power



Burkina Faso President Back in Power

Burkina Faso's interim president Michel Kafando says he is back in power, exactly one week after he was detained by members of the presidential guard who staged a coup.


Kafando told reporters Wednesday that his government has been restored and he is resuming power "this very minute."

Earlier Wednesday, members of the presidential guard agreed to return to their barracks in a deal made after the presidents of Senegal, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria traveled to the capital, Ouagadougou, to negotiate.

Government troops who had streamed into the capital in opposition of the coup leaders have agreed to retreat to 50 kilometers outside the city.

Coup leader General Gilbert Diendere on Tuesday apologized to the country and vowed to hand over power when requested by the leaders meeting in Ouagadougou. Earlier he told VOA that he wants to avoid bloodshed.

Also Tuesday, French Ambassador Gilles Thibault said on Twitter that the interim president held for nearly a week by the coup leader had been freed. He said Kafando was staying at the "French residence."

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has recommended that U.S. citizens in Burkina Faso leave the West African nation, citing an uncertain security situation. It also recommended against travel to the landlocked country.

Ouagadougou has been tense since army troops poured into the capital to negotiate the surrender of the coup leaders. Residents cheered the troops' arrival early Tuesday before they were asked to return to their homes.

A reporter for VOA in Ouagadougou, Emilie Iob, said the streets of the capital emptied out as word spread that the army was coming.

The presidential guard overthrew Burkina Faso's transitional government last Wednesday, less than a month before elections.  Diendere said the polls were "biased," because supporters of former president Blaise Compaore were barred from running.

Compaore ruled Burkina Faso for 27 years before being ousted in a popular uprising last year, when he tried to change the constitution to extend his presidency.

Protests against the coup turned violent, killing at least 10 and injuring more than 100.

West African negotiators announced a plan Sunday to restore civilian authority but offer amnesty to the coup leaders.  Under the plan, the elections originally set for October 11 would be held sometime before November 22.

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Burkina Faso Union Leader Blames Crisis on ECOWAS

The leader and chief negotiator of the Confederation of Labor Unions in Burkina Faso said the West African economic regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is partly to blame for the political and military crisis in Burkina Faso.

Bazie Bassolma told VOA Tuesday ECOWAS should not force the Burkinabe people to negotiate with the coup leaders, who he said have been characterized by the African Union as terrorists.

His comments came as West African leaders who met Tuesday in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, announced they are sending a new peace mission to Burkina Faso Wednesday.

ECOWAS Commission President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo said one purpose of the new delegation is "to re-establish Michel Kafando” as transitional president.

He also said the delegation, which comprises Nigeria, Niger, Togo, Ghana, Benin and Senegal, will "initiate a political dialogue among all stakeholders with a view to finding concessional solutions" to the proposed ECOWAS peace plan.

But labor unions leader and chief negotiator Bassolma said the Burkinabe people will not negotiate with what he called "terrorists."

“Our position is this: We say that ECOWAS is also part of the problem in our country because we see the presidents of ECOWAS tried to discuss with terrorists in our country,” he said.

Bassolma said by holding discussions with the coup leaders, ECOWAS is in reality saying that the people’s transitional government led by Michel Kafando is null and void.

“We say we are fighting for peace in our country; we are fighting for our rights in our country. But we cannot accept that ECOWAS comes to our country to negotiate with terrorists,” Bassolma said.

In addition to reestablishing Kafando, Ouedraogo said Tuesday that another purpose of the delegation is "initiate a political dialogue among all stakeholders with a view to finding concessional solutions" to the proposed ECOWAS peace plan.

The first round of talks mediated by Senegalese President Mackey Sall focused on returning power to the interim government while offering amnesty to the coup leaders.

The deal would also have allowed for pro-Compaore candidates, who had been excluded from the October 11 elections, to take part in coming elections.

The presidential guard overthrew Burkina Faso's transitional government last Wednesday less than a month before elections.  Coup leader General Gilbert Diendere said the polls were "biased," because supporters of former president Blaise Compaore were barred from running. Diendere has said he will hand over power when requested by West African leaders from ECOWAS.

Bassolma said the Burkinabe people agree with ECOWAS that the deposed transitional government should be returned to power and lead the country to election. But he said granting amnesty to the coup leaders is out of the question.

“We said that we want the transitional government take back its road. We think that this group of military must go back to the barracks. We cannot accept that one party of this army takes our country on a dangerous road,” he said.

He said civil society will never grant amnesty to the coup leaders because they have the Burkinabe people’s blood on their hands.


“We cannot accept that terrorists killed many people and now want to get amnesty. We will not accept [it],” Bassolma said.
Burkina Faso President Back in Power Burkina Faso President Back in Power  Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 6:59 PM Rating: 5

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