Another coup in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso’s last military coup, in October-November 2014, left the country under the control of a new interim “civilian” government whose (acting) prime minister just happened to be the lieutenant colonel, and former deputy commander of the presidential guard, who had come out of the coup on top of the pile. Well, you know how Mark Twain is supposed to have said (though there’s no actual evidence he ever said it) that “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme”? I’m no poet, but I think this might qualify as a rhyme:

The military in Burkina Faso has taken to the airwaves to declare it now controls the country, confirming that a coup has taken place – just weeks before national elections.

In the announcement aired early on Thursday on national television and radio, the statement said that the transitional government in the West African country had been dissolved.

The statement came a day after members of the elite presidential guard unit of the military arrested the transitional president and prime minister.

Roses are red, and the military unit that Zida used to help command has now arrested him and toppled his government. The status of Zida and the now ex-acting President, Michel Kafando, is unknown, though they are believed to still be alive.

The public reason for the coup, as announced by the coup leaders, is that the electoral laws governing the country’s once-imminent elections (they had been scheduled for October 11, but that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen now) had excluded any members of former President Blaise Compaoré‘s party, as well as anyone known to have supported his attempt to secure an unconstitutional third term as president, from running. However, it’s more likely that the presidential guard was motivated to overthrow the government because, a couple of days ago, the government’s national reconciliation commission recommended that the entire unit be disbanded. They probably didn’t like the sound of that.

The junta has announced that Gilbert Diendéré, the commander of the presidential guard and a close ally of Compaoré‘s (hm, there couldn’t be a connection there, could there?), has been installed as Burkina Faso’s new head of state, and he has promised to form a new transitional government that is more “inclusive” than the old one.

Hey, he looks like a nice guy

The Speaker of the Burkinabé parliament, Cheriff Sy, has meanwhile declared himself the country’s new head of state, and has pledged to resist the junta. People have taken to the streets in protest against the coup, and at least 10 people have reportedly been killed in the capital, Ouagadougou.

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