July 13, 2024

Military prosecutor says 4 arrested, 2 on run following reports that a coup attempt was thwarted by security services.

A coup attempt against Burkina Faso’s military rulers has been thwarted by the country’s intelligence and security services, authorities said.

Burkina Faso’s military rulers said in a statement on Wednesday that army officers and others had planned to seize power and plunge the country into “chaos”.

“Officers and other alleged actors involved in this attempt at destabilisation have been arrested and others are actively sought,” a spokesman for the ruling military Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo said in a statement without providing details.

The latest coup attempt occurred on Tuesday, according to the statement.

The military government said it would seek to shed “all possible light on this plot” and that it regretted “that officers whose oath is to defend their homeland have strayed into an undertaking of this nature”.

The country’s military prosecutor later said that four people had been arrested and two were on the run. An investigation has been opened based on “credible allegations about a plot against state security implicating officers”, the prosecutor said.

Earlier this month, the military prosecutor said three soldiers had been arrested and charged with plotting against the ruling military government of Captain Ibrahim Traore who seized power in September 2022 eight months after an earlier military coup had overthrown the democratically elected President Roch Marc Kabore.

Burkina Faso’s capital city Ouagadougou appeared calm on Wednesday evening following the military’s announcement of an attempt to topple it.

Thousands of pro-military government demonstrators took to the streets of Ouagadougou and elsewhere on Tuesday to show their support for the country’s military rulers following a call from Traore supporters to “defend” him amid rumours of a mutiny circulated on social media.

On Monday, French news magazine Jeune Afrique was suspended from publishing what the military said was an “untruthful” article that reported tension and discontent within the armed forces.

One of a growing number of West African countries where the military has seized power, army officers in Burkina Faso have taken control amid public discontent as armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) have launched a rebellion that has destabilised the country and its neighbours in West Africa’s Sahel region.

More than two million people have been uprooted by the fighting in Burkina Faso, making it one of the worst internal displacement crises in Africa.

Last week authorities claimed nearly 192,000 internally displaced people had returned to their homes after various regions were retaken by government forces, though rebel attacks continue unabated despite claims of the military winning back territory.

More than 50 Burkinabe soldiers and volunteer fighters were killed in clashes with rebels in early September – the heaviest losses in months – the latest deaths that add to the thousands of civilians and troops that have died in rebel attacks in recent years, according to organisations monitoring the conflict.

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