A longtime member of ousted Burkina Faso leader Blaise Compaore’s presidential guard, Gilbert Diendere, has lead a coup and taken control of the country from an interim government. Burkina Faso had been led by President Michal Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida since a 2014 coup that ousted Compaore, according to reports from Gawker.
Kafando and Zida are currently being held by Diendere’s militia.
The current front runner for upcoming Burkina Faso elections, Roch Kabore, released a statement denouncing the coup.
“The Burkinabe people have already made huge sacrifices and paid the price in blood during the popular uprising of October 2014. As one, we must again mobilise to block the way of this new abuse of power which is a renewed attempt to reinstate the old order and resist the people’s desire to establish democracy and justice.”
Elections had been scheduled for October 11, a date supported by the U.S Department of State.
“Blaise Compaore has nothing to do with choosing Isaac Zida as the interim president,” Gilbert Diendere was quoted by Vice in 2014 with regard to Burkina Faso’s prime minster, whom he has just helped oust. “It is the people’s choice that was honored by the army.”
Burkina Faso journalist Boukari Ouedraogo tweeted with regard to the wounded, “Injured sent to hospital.”
Former President Compaore had been overthrown due to his efforts to amend the Burkina Faso constitution in a move to extend his rule, which lasted 27 years.
A statement read by Mamadou Bamba on Burkina Faso national television underlined the veracity of the coup. Bamba spoke with regard to the fact that under the interim Burkina Faso government, former members of Compaore’s party and those who supported his attempt to amend the constitution were being blocked from taking part in upcoming elections.
Reports indicate that a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew has been instated and international travel has been halted.
John Kirby with the U.S. Department of State expressed the “concern” of the United States with regard to the Burkina Faso coup. He called for the “immediate release” of President Michal Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida.
“The United States strongly condemns any attempt to seize power through extra-constitutional means or resolve internal political disagreements using force,” Kirby states.
Diendere has been quoted by AP stating the he believes that October 11 is “too soon” to hold elections, but noted his desire to “stabilize” Burkina Faso and hold elections. Compaore took refuge in the Ivory Coast following his 2014 ouster. His current whereabouts are reportedly unknown.
[Gilbert Diendere Screenshot Courtesy Agence de Presse Africaine Apanews / YouTube]