Coup leader says Burkina president, PM ‘will be released’

Michel KafandoThe leader of a coup d’etat in Burkina Faso told a French magazine Thursday that the interim president and prime minister who have been arrested were in good health and would be released.

Speaking to the Jeune Afrique weekly, General Gilbert Diendere said the coup was launched by the presidential guard because of the “serious pre-election security situation” as the west African nation prepares for its first polls since longtime leader Blaise Compaore was overthrown last year.

Diendere, Compaore’s former chief-of-staff, said that acting president Michel Kafando and his prime minister Isaac Zida had been put under house arrest.

“They are doing well and will be released,” he said.

Compaore fled into exile in Ivory Coast following a popular uprising in October 2014 after he tried to extend his 27-year rule.

A transitional government had been charged with running the nation until presidential and legislative elections on October 11.

Compaore supporters had been banned from running under a controversial law passed in April that made anyone backing “unconstitutional change” ineligible to run.

Diendere said he had taken action as a result of “the exclusion measures taken by transitional authorities” and to “prevent the destabilisation of the country.”

He said elections would be held later, without saying when.

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