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Burkina coup supporters storm hotel hosting mediators

By AFP   |   20 September 2015   |   12:37 pm  
PHOTO: www.france24.com

PHOTO: www.france24.com

Dozens of supporters of the Burkina Faso military coup on Sunday chanted slogans and wrecked furniture as they stormed a Ouagadougou hotel hosting efforts to end the country’s post-putsch crisis, an AFP journalist said.

The attack came as mediators led by Senegalese President Macky Sall — who also chairs the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) — were due to announce an exit plan Sunday morning for the landlocked west African country from the crisis triggered by Thursday’s military coup.

An AFP journalist at the scene said the supporters of General Gilbert Diendere were clearly aiming to pressure the mediators, who also include the UN representative in Africa Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

The scuffle came a day after Benin’s President Thomas Boni Yayi, who was in Ouagadougou meeting both sides in the standoff, announced “all the actors” in the crisis would meet Sunday to announce “good news”.

Though he did not specify exactly what the announcement would be, he did hint at a return to power of Burkina’s interim government.

Arriving before any announcement could be made, Diendere’s supporters forced their way into the hotel, caused mayhem in the lobby and took off again.

“What we want is for Diendere to stay and organise elections quickly like he promised. We are killing each other in the neighbourhood and the country because of exclusion, we need inclusive elections,” a Diendere supporter said on condition of anonymity.

The Presidential Security Regiment (RSP), an elite army unit of 1,300 men loyal to former president Blaise Compaore, officially declared a coup on Thursday and announced Compaore’s ex-chief of staff Diendere as the new leader.

Just before Diendere’s supporters arrived, protesters from the “Balai citoyen” (Civic Broom) movement that led an uprising which deposed Compaore last October, also gathered outside the hotel, seeking to “maintain pressure” on the talks until an announcement was made.

At least 10 people have been killed and 113 wounded in clashes sparked by Wednesday’s detention of the interim president and prime minister a by presidential guard officers, a source at Ouagadougou’s main hospital told AFP.



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