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Africa

Embattled president unveils new government

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-22

Burkina Faso's beleaguered President Blaise Compaore (pictured) unveiled a new government Thursday, naming himself as the country's defence minister. The move comes after weeks of unrest, including a soldier-led insurrection.

AFP - Burkina Faso's president has named himself defence minister in a new government announced late Thursday, decrees read on public television said, as he seeks to end a soldiers' mutiny.

"The president (of Burkina Faso), commander in chief of the army, has assumed the function of defence and veterans minister," one of the decrees said.

President Blaise Compaore takes over the sensitive defence post after two months of unprecedented mass demonstrations, including a revolt by soldiers over pay and benefits and student riots against police that left several dead.

Last week Compaore, an ex-soldier who came to power in a 1987 military coup, ordered the payment of bonuses to soldiers, dissolved the government and replaced his army chief in a bid to reassert his authority and quell dissent.

Fifteen new ministers -- all members of the ruling party or followers of the president -- entered the government of 29 members, down from 38 previously.

Djibril Bassole, former UN and African Union mediator for Darfur in Sudan, becomes foreign minister while the economy and finance portfolio goes to Lucien Marie-Noel Bembamba, Compaore's brother-in-law.

There are three women in the new team formed by Prime Minister Luc Adolphe Tiao, a journalist without prior government experience, appointed on Monday to help put an end to the unrest.

They will occupy the ministries of national education, social action and promotion of women.

The new head of the armed forces general staff, General Honore Nabere Traore, said after meeting with his military chiefs in Ouagadougou on Thursday that "the crises are heading toward a solution".

"We have found adequate responses" to the mutineers' demands, he said on public radio, adding that the mutineers would meet the president late this week.

Tiao replaced Tertius Zongo, who was sacked after an April 14 mutiny within the presidential guard.

Since the end of February all sectors of the population have joined in more or less violent protests against the Compaore regime and the cost of living, in a country where the majority of the 16 million population live on about 1.5 euros a day.

At least six people have died in the protests.
 

Date created : 2011-04-22

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