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Burkina Faso PM Denies Resignation Rumors

FILE - Burkina Faso Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida listens as an official reads the names of transitional government ministers, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The prime minister of Burkina Faso, Yacouba Izaac Zida, said he has not resigned — contrary to rumors and what the local news media have been reporting in recent days. The reports have circulated amid a dispute involving Zida and the presidential guard, the RSP.

The prime minister said he is still in charge and that journalists should be more professional in their reporting. Zida spoke to reporters ahead of an official visit to Ivory Coast.

Zida said he wants this opportunity to say that what was reported in the press Sunday is not true. He said there is no crisis within the government, and the press should verify this kind of information before broadcasting this kind of news.

The comments follow recent reports that shots were fired into the air from inside the RSP camp, allegedly to protest the questioning of two RSP leaders about rumored attempts to arrest the prime minister. Zida said the threats were real.

Zida had threatened to disband the regiment to which he and former prime minister Blaise Compaore once belonged, but Zida has since changed his tone and said the group is important to security.

Separately, Zida said it is very important that elections occur in October to allow voters to elect the president of their choice. Security Minister Colonel Auguste Denise Barry, who is accompanying Zida, agreed. He said there is no hidden agenda by the transitional government to delay or cancel the elections. He said his ministry is taking necessary precautions for a safe ballot.

Barry said the mechanisms are in place to make sure the elections take place in the most efficient manner. He said all the security aspects concerning the electoral process are being looked into at the moment.

The elections are to be held a year after Compaore was swept from power in a civilian uprising against his bid to seek a fifth term. Compaore was one of Africa's longest ruling leaders.

Zoumana Wonogo contributed to this report.