EU demands Burkina faso coup leaders lay down arms ‘unconditionally’

Federica MogheriniEU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini demanded on Tuesday that coup leaders in Burkina Faso lay down their arms “unconditionally” as regular army troops entered the capital and began talks on a surrender deal.

“The EU calls for every effort to be made to avoid armed clashes. It demands that the RSP (presidential guard) lay down their arms immediately,” Mogherini said in a brief statement.

Soldiers from the powerful RSP presidential guard regiment loyal to ex-leader Blaise Compaore seized interim president Michel Kafando and top officials last week, plunging the impoverished west African country into turmoil ahead of elections on October 11.

A popular uprising ousted Compaore late last year after 27 years in office when he said he wanted another term. A transitional government was put in place to organise elections.

On Tuesday, Burkina Faso army troops entered Ouagadougou without resistance and began negotiating the surrender of the coup leaders, who released Kafando and his prime minister.

“We must now secure the surrender of the (coup leaders) without gunfire or bloodshed,” Colonel Serge Alain Ouedraogo, deputy head of the Burkinabe police, told AFP.

The 28-nation EU is one of the top aid donors to landlocked Burkina Faso, a former French colony.

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