Burkina Faso denies army takeover after barracks gunfire

The government denies the army seized control of the country after exchanges of gunfire at multiple army barracks.

Burkina Faso’s government says the army has not seized control of the country on Sunday after exchanges of gunfire took place at multiple army barracks, including two in the capital, Ouagadougou.

Heavy arms fire at the capital’s Sangoule Lamizana camp, which houses the army’s general staff and a prison whose inmates include soldiers involved in a failed 2015 coup attempt, began at least as early as 5:00 am (0500 GMT).

The reporter later saw soldiers firing into the air in the camp. A witness also reported gunfire at a military camp in Kaya, around 100km (62 miles) north of Ouagadougou.

“Information on social media would have people believe there was an army takeover,” government spokesman Alkassoum Maiga said in a statement on Sunday.

“The government, while recognizing the validity of shootings in some barracks, denies this information and calls on the population to remain calm.”

The gunfire came a day after clashes between police and demonstrators during protests against the authorities’ failure to stem violence ravaging the West African country.

It also follows the arrest earlier this month of numerous soldiers over a suspected plot to “destabilize institutions” in the West African country, which has a long history of coups.

Nicolas Haque, reporting from Dakars, said mutineers revealed to him six demands they have for the government.

“One is hiring more troops to fight on the frontlines against groups linked ISIL (ISIS) al-Qaeda,” he said.

They also demand better care for the wounded and the families of those who lost their loved ones as well as better wages, training, and forming of permanent battalions to deal with threats,” our correspondent said, adding that the demands did not demand the resignation of the government.

Shots were heard at another military camp, Baby Sy, in the south of the capital, and at an airbase near the airport, military sources said.



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