Accessibility links

Around 20 Soldiers Arrested in Burkina Faso Over Jail Break Plot

  • Reuters

FILE - General Gilbert Diendere sits at the presidential palace in Ouagadougou, Sept. 17, 2015. Soldiers were arrested for plotting to free Diendere from prison.

FILE - General Gilbert Diendere sits at the presidential palace in Ouagadougou, Sept. 17, 2015. Soldiers were arrested for plotting to free Diendere from prison.

Authorities in Burkina Faso have arrested around 20 soldiers for plotting to free from prison a prominent general who has been charged with staging a coup, Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida told a news conference.

The arrests come in the wake of the short-lived coup in September and appear to show continued tension between the government and supporters of veteran President Blaise Compaore, who was overthrown in October 2014.

During the coup allegedly led by General Gilbert Diendere, troops from the presidential guard took transitional President Michel Kafando and the prime minister hostage.

The coup failed, the presidential guard was disbanded and Diendere was arrested and charged with murder, threatening state security and crimes against humanity. He is still in detention.

"The young soldiers were thinking that they could free General Gilbert Diendere and re-establish the presidential guard. It is absurd," Zida said late Sunday.

"We have proceeded with arrests to make them understand that a project such as theirs, even before it has been carried out, is doomed to fail," he said without giving details of the plot.

Diendere was the intelligence chief and right-hand man of Compaore, who was overthrown by protesters angry at his attempt to change the constitution so that he could stay in power.

Diendere was charged last month over the murder of President Thomas Sankara, who died in 1987 in the coup that brought Compaore to power. Authorities have also issued an international arrest warrant for Compaore.

Former Prime Minister Roch Marc Kabore is due to be sworn in as president Tuesday and will be the country's first new leader in decades.

Kabore was an ally of Compaore who went into opposition in early 2014. The election was key for a nation ruled by leaders who came to power in coups for most of its history since independence from France in 1960.

XS
SM
MD
LG