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Burkina Faso Arrests Suspects in Armory Raid

  • VOA News

People light candles during a memorial ceremony for the victims of a recent hotel attack in which extremists killed at least 29 people in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Jan. 23, 2016.

An army official in Burkina Faso said 10 soldiers have been arrested in connection with a pre-dawn raid Friday on an armory outside the capital, Ouagadougou.

Friday's raid on the Yimbdi armory came less than a week after al-Qaida-linked terrorists killed at least 29 people and wounded scores more, including many foreigners, in an upscale Ouagadougou hotel and nearby cafe.

Spokesman Willy Youmeogo, speaking Saturday, said all 10 suspects in the armory raid were former members of the country's presidential guard. He also said one civilian was arrested, describing him as a "religious" figure.

The guard was an elite unit of 1,500 members loyal to former President Blaise Compaore, who was driven from power in 2014 following massive protests.

The former French colony has undergone upheaval since Compaore's ouster 15 months ago.

Last year, his former spy chief, General Gilbert Diendere, used the unit, known as RSP, in an attempt to overthrow the interim government just days before presidential elections.

Diendere was jailed for treason and the RSP was officially disbanded.