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What's behind the coup in Burkina Faso?

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What's behind the coup in Burkina Faso?


French President Francois Hollande has condemned what he has described as a coup d‘état in the West African state of Burkina Faso.

It is the latest twist in a year-long run of political uncertainty in West African state.

Here, Euronews outlines the who, what, why, where, and when of what is happening in the country.


Interim President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida: were taken hostage during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Several other ministers have also been detained.

*Ex-President Blaise Compaoré: had announced plans in 2014 to extend his 27-year term in office by changing the constitution. There were street protests and he was forced to leave office. Currently in exile in neighbouring Ivory Coast.

The Presidential Guard: 1,300 strong, they are traditional supporters of Compaoré and do not enjoy much popular support. A government commission recommended two days that the organisation be disbanded.

General Gilbert Diendéré appointed interim leader of Burkino Faso. A long-time ally of Compaoré, he now leads the “National Council for Democracy” (CND)

Cheriff Sy: President of the interim Assembly (CNT), has appealed for the public to mobilise against what he termed a “coup d‘état”.

The international community: the UN, African Union, ECOWAS, EU, US and France have condemned the takeover and are calling for the transitional government to be reinstated.


Members of the Presidential Guard stormed the government buildings on Wednesday and took the interim President, Prime Minister and several other ministers hostage.
A curfew was declared between 1900 and 0600. International borders and airspace have been closed until further notice. Barricades have been erected around the government buildings. The streets of Ouagadougu are deserted and shops and offices are closed.
Groups of guards are said to be patrolling the capital, Ouagadougu, and firing into the air to disperse protesters.

The transitional government has been dissolved and replaced by a new body, the “National Council for Democracy” (CND)


The main complaint cited by the CND is a law forbidding the supporters of ex-President Blaise Compaoré from standing in next month’s legislative elections. The controversial new law says anyone who supported Compaoré‘s 2014 attempt to change the constitution and introduce unlimited presidential mandates is ineligible to stand for election in the poll in October.

However, Burkinabés (as nationals of Burkino Faso are known) have taken to social media in droves to speculate whether Blaise Compaoré is really behind it all.


Burkina Faso is a land-locked West African state surrounded by six countries. It has a population of just over 17 million people. Formerly known as the Republic of Upper Volta, the official language is French.
It is an important ally for the US and France in the fight against militants in the Sahel region.


The Presidential Guard stormed the government building on Wednesday. The transitional government was dissolved and the interim President Michel Kafando relieved of his duties and replaced by General Diendéré on Thursday morning.

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