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Africa

Government forces attack mutineers

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-06-04

Burkina Faso’s military moved Friday to quash a mutiny by soldiers seeking better pay in Bobo Dioulasso, the country’s second-largest city and its economic capital.

REUTERS - Gunfire rang out on Friday when loyal troops attacked a mutinous military camp in an effort to stamp out protests in Burkina Faso's economic capital, witnesses said.

Seven dead, mutiny suppressed

Six soldiers and a young girl were killed when the Burkina Faso military put down a mutiny in the economic capital Bobo Dioulasso, the government announced Saturday.

Six soldiers were killed within the camp during operations Friday and a young girl was killed in the crossfire, security minister Jerome Bougouma told reporters.
 

There have been several protests in the usually placid cotton- and gold-producing West African nation since President Blaise Compaore extended his 24-year rule with an 80.15 percent win in a November poll which rivals said was not credible.
 
Heavy gunfire began when troops were sent to disarm the occupants of Ouezzin Coulibaly military camp after days of protests and looting by soldiers in Bobo Dioulasso, 350 km (270 miles) southwest of the capital Ouagadougou.
 
"It was very violent. There was automatic gunfire but also heavy weapons fire from the government side," said one witness.
 
The government said on Friday that the armed forces had been ordered to "forcibly disarm" the mutinous soldiers and operations to restore order were under way.
 
At least 15 people have been injured in the latest bout of unrest, preceding the attack on the camp.
 
Soldiers, students and traders have staged a number of protests in the past few months about pay and living conditions in poor, landlocked Burkina Faso.
 
"Bobo (Dioulasso) is deserted. Everything is closed. In some places you can see loyalist soldiers," another witness said.
 
An overnight curfew was imposed on Thursday.
 
The mutinous soldiers initially protested against delays in receiving their pay, but witnesses said they pillaged food stocks and shops in the business district and the central market.
 
Traders retaliated on Thursday by attacking the mayor's office, the customs office and the local offices of the state electricity company and lottery.
 
Analysts say the protests are a serious challenge to Compaore's rule but the groups behind them have yet to form a coherent national movement that could push him from power.

 

Date created : 2011-06-04

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