Yesterday, in the African nation of Burkina Faso, a military coup overthrew the government and imprisoned several of its officials, including President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida. The coup was led by General Gilbert Diendere, who was named the head of the military faction called the National Council for Democracy.
Diendere served for thirty years as the chief military adviser to former Burkina Faso president, Blaise Compaore. Compaore was overthrown late last year by a popular uprising and has remained in exile in the Ivory Coast ever since. A spokesman for the coup leaders indicated that they had a political agenda to support a return to power of Compaore.
The coup was conducted by the presidential guard and came three days after a Burkina Faso governmental committee recommended disbanding and dissolving the elite group. The presidential guard was a mainstay of Compaore’s rule and the group has continuously meddled in politics since Compaore was overthrown.
The coup has outraged many powers including France, the United States and the United Nations and it comes at a particularly bad time as a democratic election was to be held next month.
The country has been in chaos ever since the coup took place.
The United States and allies have called for the immediate release of the imprisoned officials. State Department spokesman John Kirby stated that, “The United States strongly condemns any attempts to seize power through extra-constitutional means or resolve internal political disagreements using force.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is outraged by the detention of the officials and stated that, “The Secretary-General calls for their immediate release. This incident is a flagrant violation of Burkina Faso’s Constitution and Transitional Charger.”
The U.N. Security Council also “condemned in the strongest terms” the arrests and demanded the release of the officials. “The members of the Security Council urged all actors in Burkina Faso to refrain from any violence.”