Roch Kaboré, the current president of Burkina Faso, has just been arrested by the military in an alleged coup d'état. "He was arrested at his home and taken to a barracks in the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou," said a senior army commander, as confirmed by Burkina Faso news agencies and Efe. The arrest is a response to the failure of negotiations last Sunday, when tensions rose and shots were fired in several barracks to demand better conditions for the armed forces.
The government saw these events as a military mutiny led by a group of dissidents. Also, gunshots were heard near the presidential residence, raising suspicions of a possible coup d'état. The president's arrest came hours after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) issued a communiqué expressing grave concern over the outbreak of the military mutiny and urging the military to establish a dialogue with government authorities and reach a period of calm.
Following the outbreak of the mutiny, the Burkina Faso government enforced a curfew between 8pm and 5.30am. At all times, the government, led by Roch Kaboré, tried to keep the situation in the country stable, especially after the first shots were fired in the early hours of Sunday morning in the various army barracks. At no time did the government claim that it was a coup d'état, but rather a military mutiny. In fact, the Minister of Defence, General Aimé Barthélémy Simporé, said that "no public institution" had been affected.
Some local media claimed that the mutiny was aimed at demanding improvements in the government, and in principle, the military has no intention of seizing power in the country. One of the measures demanded by the military is the search for means and instruments to fight jihadist terrorism, which are aimed at Burkinabe troops; and the resignation of high-ranking military and intelligence officials for their inability to fight terrorism. The population has taken to the streets and begun to demonstrate in the various popular rallies called to show their support for the army in the capital, Ouagadougou, among other areas of the country. In addition, the headquarters of the ruling Mouvement du Peuple pour le Progrès party in the Nonsin neighbourhood were burnt down.
In recent months, the situation in the African country has not been very favourable, tension has been increasing, as well as social discontent, especially among the military, who demanded a renewal of the military leadership and governmental improvement to fight against jihadist terrorism, as there are different networks established in various regions of the country, which have been murdering dozens of citizens and military personnel.
Prior to Sunday's military mutiny, a series of unauthorised demonstrations against the country's president took place on Saturday, called by various civil society groups to express social discontent over the insecurity caused by jihadist terrorism, which has led to the internal displacement of more than 1.5 million citizens, according to data collected by the Burkinabe government, and the government's lack of measures to curb this international phenomenon. There were also calls for the president's resignation.
Jihadist terrorism is generally attributed to Al-Qaeda and ISIS networks, one of the effects of which has been economic destabilisation in Burkina Faso. As a result, many citizens took to the streets on Sunday to demonstrate under the pretext of calling on the government to take a series of measures to quell the terrorist threat.
Burkina Faso, along with Mali, is one of the countries with the highest concentration of violence, especially jihadist violence. So far this month, Burkina Faso has made 15 arrests, including 5 civilians and 10 soldiers, for an alleged coup attempt. According to Courrier Confidentiel's sources, if the military perceives that its demands are being ignored, the situation in the country may change.