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Burkina Faso President, PM Held Hostage by Soldiers

  • VOA News

FILE - Burkina Faso's interim president, Michel Kafando.

FILE - Burkina Faso's interim president, Michel Kafando.

The U.N. Security Council is unanimously demanding the immediate release of the president, prime minister and others being held hostage in Burkina Faso by renegade members of the presidential guard.

The council condemned the detentions in the "strongest terms." Secretary General Ban KI-moon said he is outraged and calls it a "flagrant violation" of Burkina Faso's constitution.

Reports say presidential guard members who support ousted President Blaise Compaore broke into a Cabinet meeting and arrested interim President Michel Kafando, Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida, and other government ministers.

Witnesses say soldiers put up barricades around the presidential palace. Gunfire erupted several hours later as soldiers backing the kidnappers tried to disperse protesters outside the palace. It is unclear if there are any casualties and the soldiers have not made any demands.

Compaore was ousted by a popular uprising last October. Burkina Faso has scheduled general elections October 11.

The run-up to the vote has been marked by tension between the interim government and the presidential guard, known as the RSP.

The country's national reconciliation commission called for the breakup of the RSP, which it called "an army within an army."

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