The Mess and Coup of Burkina Faso

On September 17th in Burkina Faso, Michel Kafando, the interim president since last October, and several other members of his government, were arrested by the presidential guard. A spokesman, complete with uniform, appeared on television to announce that the “National Council for Democracy” has decided it necessary to put to an end the temporary government. A general, Gilbert Diendéré , declared himself the country’s new leader. Protests were put down, with three people apparently killed after a curfew was imposed last night.

Its capital is Ouagadougou. As of 2014, its population was estimated at just over 17.3 million.

Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed “Burkina Faso” on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara. Residents of Burkina Faso are known as Burkinabé . French is an official language of government and business.

On Saturday, Benin’s President Thomas Boni Yayi, who is leading the mediation talks along with his Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall, had hinted at a breakthrough in the negations, saying that a “good decision” would be made on Sunday.

Tensions remained high in Ouagadougou, where most shops remained shuttered following deadly clashes between elite troops and protesters.

In addition to the Ouagadougou protests, unrest has also flared in other regions of the country, with angry crowds burning the homes of some Compaore supporters.

A military coup threw Burkina Faso back into political turmoil this week, less than a year after a popular uprising ousted a long-serving autocrat and brought hopes of democratic change in the West African nation.

The country was preparing for its first democratic elections, scheduled for Oct. 11, since popular protests ended the 27-year rule of former President Blaise Compaore last October.

Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi, who is negotiating on behalf of the regional bloc ECOWAS along with Senegal President Macky Sall, suggested to reporters Saturday that interim President Michel Kafando and his government would be reinstated.

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