Burkina Faso coup: Leaders ignore army's deadline to lay down their weapons

Military says it is ready to 'shoot our brothers' if they have to

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The Independent Online

Arms crossed and awaiting orders, four soldiers stood outside the État Major base in Ouagadougou on Tuesday.

The deadline given by Burkina Faso’s army for coup leaders and the presidential guard to lay down their weapons came and went without action but the soldiers said they were ready to fight – even though none of them had guns to fight with. “We will fight them if we are called to the presidential palace for [General Gilbert] Diendere and the presidential guard,” said army officer Marck. “The presidential guard are our brothers. We don’t want to shoot our brothers. But we will shoot them if we have to.”

 

At Sangoulé Lamizana, a camp that houses the army prison, two men in civilian clothes arrived to surrender. They were presidential guardsmen, loyal to the coup leaders. The crowd that had gathered at the camp cheered as the commander, pistol drawn, met his new prisoners. “They committed crimes. They fired on the population. Amnesty is not possible. We want justice,” said Daniel Tourikaria, 41. Behind him, two army tanks rolled into the camp and the crowd erupted into cheers.

On Tuesday the leader of the coup in Burkina Faso refused to heed a deadline for his men to return to barracks, even after troops opposing the takeover poured into the capital. General Diendere, whose coup was aided by allies of deposed President Blaise Compaore, said he would hand over power when requested by west African leaders meeting in Nigeria.

In central Ouagadougou, Djibrill Traore, 51, had little faith the peace talks in Nigeria would have an effect. “We need the rule of law to emerge and for Burkina Faso to be an example to the rest of Africa,” he said. Local Radio Omega journalist Yarro Seidou pulled up his trouser leg to show off a bandaged bullet wound. He was shot last week during the coup when the presidential guard stormed Radio Omega. “They shot us and they cut the broadcast,” Mr Seidou said.

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