Shooting near President’s residence in Burkina Faso

Ouagadougou, Jan 23 (AP) Gunshots were heard near the residence of Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Cabore late Sunday. Earlier in the day, rebel troops captured a military base, raising fears of a military coup in the country.

Government officials tried to reassure people that the situation was under control despite hours of gunfire at the army base, but at the end of the day anti-government protesters backing the rebels also torched a building in Kabore’s party. Gave.

Meanwhile, gunshots were heard near President Kabore’s residence late Sunday night. It was not immediately clear whether Kabore was at home at the time of the incident. Several people present in the area told the Associated Press (AP) that apart from gunshots, helicopters were also heard there.

A rebel soldier told the AP over the phone that heavy fighting was going on near Rashtrapati Bhavan. This is a claim that cannot be independently verified.

Massive protests were held on Sunday calling for Kabore’s resignation after weeks of growing discontent over the government’s handling of Islamic extremism in the country. Anti-government protesters gave public support to rebel troops, prompting security forces to fire tear gas to disperse crowds in the capital.

The West African regional bloc, known as ECOWAS, has already suspended Mali and Guinea in the past 18 months following a military coup. It issued a statement in support of Burkina Faso’s president and urged dialogue with the rebels.

Defense Minister Amy Barthélemy Simpor told state broadcaster RTB that some military barracks were affected not only in Ouagadougou but also in some other cities. He denied that President Kabore had been taken into custody by rebel troops. However, no information was given about where he is.

“Some barracks have been affected. not much. The situation has returned to normal in some barracks…we are assessing the situation.”

Kabore has been facing opposition ever since he was re-elected to the presidency in November 2020. He sacked the country’s prime minister last month and replaced most of the cabinet members.

Violence in this once-peaceful West African country is on the rise as attacks by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group increase. Thousands have been killed in recent years and nearly 1.5 million have been displaced.

AP Niharika Simmi


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