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Ex-Coup Leader Fears 'Many Dead' in Burkina Faso

  • VOA News

Burkinabe soldiers patrol near the Presidental Security Regiment (RSP) military barracks in Ouagadougou, Sept. 29, 2015.

Burkinabe soldiers patrol near the Presidental Security Regiment (RSP) military barracks in Ouagadougou, Sept. 29, 2015.

The leader of a failed coup in Burkina Faso said late Tuesday that he feared there were "many dead" after the army raided a camp holding renegade presidential guard members who had refused to disarm.

General Gilbert Diendere spoke to the French news agency AFP from an undisclosed location after the army assault. He said there were families and a medical clinic in the camp in the capital, Ouagadougou.

Diendere appeared on local radio earlier in the day to appeal to the coup holdouts to give up their weapons. The army said as many as 300 members of the 1,300 coup participants surrendered.

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso


Initial reports said government soldiers entered without resistance, but it was unclear how the gunfire broke out and who started it.

The presidential guard agreed to disarm as part of last week's deal to end the short-lived, unsuccessful coup. The guard members had demanded guarantees of safety for themselves and their families but contended that what was offered by the army and the transitional government, which was reinstated after the failed coup, was insufficient.

Also, some presidential guard members said they felt "betrayed" by the transitional government's decision to dissolve the guard and open a commission of inquiry into the coup. Those steps weren't part of the disarmament deal, they said.

The guard and Diendere launched their coup attempt September 16. The guard was unhappy that the interim government had barred supporters of former President Blaise Compaore from running in upcoming elections.

Burkina Faso's army took up positions outside the presidential guard's camp in the capital Ouagadougou, Sept. 29, 2015. The elite unit -- known as the Presidental Security Regiment (RSP) -- has refused to disarm after the short-lived coup last week.

Burkina Faso's army took up positions outside the presidential guard's camp in the capital Ouagadougou, Sept. 29, 2015. The elite unit -- known as the Presidental Security Regiment (RSP) -- has refused to disarm after the short-lived coup last week.


Compaore was ousted in a popular uprising last October as he tried to extend his 27 years in office.

The guard briefly held the interim president, prime minister and several cabinet members hostage. Diendere was forced to step down a few days later after pressure from protesters, the army and the West African bloc ECOWAS.

Burkina Faso was planning to hold presidential and parliamentary elections October 11. It is now unclear when the vote will take place.

VOA's Emilie Iob contributed to this report from Ouagadougou.

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