Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Authorities say the alleged conspiracy was uncovered after “a member of the gang” denounced the plan.

Authorities in Burkina Faso say eight soldiers, including a high-ranking commander, have been detained in connection with an alleged conspiracy to “destabilize” the country’s institutions.

The announcement on Tuesday came after President Roch Marc Christian Kabore replaced the whole government amid an escalating security crisis that led to street protests urging him to retire.

The military prosecutor’s office said in a statement that it had heard of the alleged conspiracy on Saturday after “a member of the gang” denounced the plan.

An investigation has been launched and eight soldiers have been detained for questioning, it added.

Burkina Faso’s government has come under sustained pressure due to failure to stem the bloodshed of a brutal six-year conflict with armed groups linked to ISIL (ISIS) and al-Qaeda, which has killed some 2,000 people, 1.4 million forced out of their homes and a huge humanitarian crisis.

Security sources told the AFP news agency that Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel Zoungrana, commander of Western forces fighting armed groups in the country, was among those arrested.

One of the security sources said “suspicions of a conspiracy to destabilize [the government] with consequences abroad ”has hung over Zoungrana and several soldiers since protests broke out in November in which they demanded that Kabore overcome the increasing violence.

At the time, the government suspended mobile internet service for more than a week, while the tense situation forced the United Nations Special Envoy to West Africa to warn against any military takeover.

Governments in parts of the region are on high alert for coups after they are successful putsches over the past 18 months in Mali and Guinea. The military also took over in Chad last year after President Idriss Deby died on the battlefield.

Neighboring governments have imposed heavy sanctions on the military rulers of Guinea and Mali in an effort to ward off any contagion.

In Burkina Faso, Lassina Zerbo, a former UN official appointed as prime minister of the new government, called for “cohesion” in the face of the armed threat.

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