French broadcaster, Radio France International, RFI; have reported that Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Kabore has been detained by the military and is being held at a military camp.
The RFI report adds that a “declaration must be read in the next few hours on the airwaves of state broadcaster, Burkinabè radio and television.
The arrest is allied to a mutiny by aggrieved soldiers who started acting against government early Sunday, January 23, 2022. Multiple global news agencies reported of heavy gunfire around the Presidential palace late Sunday.
The Associated Press reported that gunfire rang out late Sunday, January 23, 2022 near the home of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, “raising the specter that a military coup might still be under way after mutinous soldiers seized a military base earlier in the day.”
The government on Sunday morning issued a terse statement assuring the populace that constitutional order was still in force.
Reports indicated the soldiers took over some military bases in the country amid heavy exchange of fire with forces believed to be loyal to the government.
But by day’s end anti-government protesters supporting the mutineers also had set fire to a building belonging to Kabore’s party, the AP report added. It is widely held that soldiers behind the mutiny are acting against the failure of government to curb rising insecurity that has seen terrorist activity experience an uptick in parts of the West African nation.
Reports have named one Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba as leader of the coup.
He was supposedly involved in the 2015 coup and like Guinean coup leader Mamady Doumbouya, was trained in France. He was also recently involved in French military operations, a Twitter user noted.
ECOWAS to deal with another military move?
Chairperson of the regional bloc, ECOWAS, on Sunday issued a press release calling for calm and expressing support for the democratically elected government.
The bloc has in the last year had to deal with three coup d’etats. Two in Mali by Colonel Assimi Goita and last September in Guinea where Alpha Conde was overthrown.
ECOWAS has suspended both Mali and Guinea and continue to pile pressure on the transitional governments to ensure a quick return to constitutional order.
Unconfirmed reports from #BurkinaFaso that a coup has taken place, with the President arrested and replaced by an army colonel
Heavy gunfire has been reported around the presidential palace & a helicopter is said to have been hovering overhead
— Gareth Barlow (@GarethBarlow) January 24, 2022