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Burkina Faso coup leader in police custody

Sia Kambou, AFP | Coup leader General Gilbert Diendere speaks during a press conference in Ouagadougou on July 25, 2014

The former leader of a short-lived coup in Burkina Faso, General Gilbert Diendéré, was handed over to transitional authorities on Thursday after seeking refuge in the Vatican embassy, judicial, military and government sources said on Thursday.

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"He has been handed over to Burkinabe authorities," said the judicial source.

A military source said Jean Baptiste Ouedraogo, the former president of Burkina Faso, escorted Diendéré to Ouagadougou's main gendarmerie camp in a heavily armed convoy.

Earlier, Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida had said the government had provided guarantees to the embassy that Diendérés life would be respected if he was handed over.

The recent unrest in Burkina Faso began when soldiers from the elite presidential guard stormed into a cabinet meeting in mid September and abducted interim president Michel Kafando and Zida, disrupting a transition period due to end with polls next month.

Diendéré, a former spy chief, was named junta head the next day.

He had sought sanctuary in the embassy in the recent days after the transitional government was returned to power amid international pressure and popular protests.

The interim government had been in place since ex-president Blaise Compaoré fled into exile following violent protests in 2014, and was charged with running the nation until presidential and legislative elections could be held on October 11.

Diendéré said he had led the coup because of proposals to dismantle the elite presidential guard and to exclude allies of Compaoré from running in the presidential poll.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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