A close ally of the former Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore lead a coup which has effectively deposed the executive leadership of the country yesterday. The coup, lead by General Gilbert Diendere, detained interim President Michel Kafano and interim Prime Minister Isaac Zida during a high level cabinet meeting in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
Media has also reported that in addition to seizing control of the executive functions of the state, soldiers raided the offices of Radio Omega and set them on fire. Radio Omega was central in reporting events of the 2014 protests and subsequent coup.
The coup was officially confirmed early Thursday morning when the military spokesman, Lt. Colonel Mamadou Bamba, made a statement saying that President Kafando has been removed from power and the National Transitional Council, which has been acting as Burkina Faso’s Parliament, has been dissolved.
The new authorities, calling themselves the National Counsel for Democracy, have sealed the boarders of the country, cancelled flights, and imposed a curfew on citizens.
There has been a wave of protests and demonstrations across Burkina Faso with labor unions calling nationwide strikes, and there have been at least eight people admitted to the hospital according to reporting by the New York Times.
The whereabouts of Michel Kafando and Isaac Zida is not presently known. Fanny Noaro, a journalist speaking with Al Jazeera in Ouagadougou, confirmed that there “is no information about the transitional president and prime minister and there is no information if they are dead or alive.”
October 11th of this year was slated to hold nationwide elections and move Burkina Faso into a democratic government. Last year the former President Blaise Compaore was removed in a coup after more than 27 years of being head of state.
Members of the international community, particularly France, have condemned this coup. International and civil society groups are declaring this a major setback for Burkina Faso’s democratic progress.