President Roch Marc Christian Kabore was said to have been detained following reports of gunfire near his home. This comes after mutinous soldiers seized a military base, stoking concerns about a military coup.
Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore has been detained in the capital, Ouagadougou, by mutinying soldiers, news agencies and media outlets reported on Monday.
Reuters and France24 cited security sources and a West African diplomat in their reports, while The Associated Press said two of the mutinying soldiers had informed it by telephone. Government officials did not immediately respond to the reports.
The news was confirmed by DW’s West Africa correspondent Amaka Okoye, who said the detention of the president appeared to have occurred amid some violence.
“There definitely must have been a struggle, because there were armored vehicles … from the presidency that were shot at,” she said.
She also said that it remained unclear who was in control of the country and that the situation was chaotic. A statement from the mutinous soldiers to be released on Monday might bring more clarity, she said.
The government in the West African nation has, however, sought to calm concerns about a potential military coup
There were conflicting reports on Kabore’s whereabouts circulating in security and diplomatic circles on Monday, Reuters said.
According to AFP news agency, security sources said the president was being held at the Sangoule Lamizana barracks in the capital.
Reports from the country are anyway difficult to verify owing to the poor quality of telephone connections and an outage of the mobile internet since Sunday.
In another development, hooded soldiers were seen outside the country’s state TV on Monday by a journalist from the AFP news agency. It was unclear whether they were loyal to the government and protecting the site or from the side of the mutineers.
Kabore’s government has been facing growing protests against its handling of a deadly Islamist insurgency in the country.
Kabore, who has been in power since 2015, was reelected in 2020 on the back of promises to make fighting the jihadis a top priority.
But he and his government have since faced accusations of inaction as civilians and soldiers continue to be killed by the militants, some of whom are linked to “Islamic State” and al-Qaida.
For weeks, the president has been the target of regular street protests demanding he step down.
More than 1 million of the country’s 21 million inhabitants are considered internally displaced and more than 6,000 people have been killed since the insurgency began six years ago.