Burkina Faso: Coup plotters refuse to disarm
BRAHIMA OUEDRAOGO & BABA AHMED
Sep. 28, 2015
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Burkina Faso's government on Monday accused the military general who was the leader of this month's failed coup of derailing the disarmament of his supporters.
For his part, Gen. Gilbert Diendere said his soldiers are under threat and need their arms for protection.
The setback for reconciliation in this West African nation comes just days after the international community applauded the reversal of the coup when Diendere agreed under heavy pressure to return power to the civilian president he had overthrown.
In a communique issued Monday, the government lashed out at Diendere's presidential guard which was disbanded last week after the short-lived coup. The statement further warned that it was aware of the "mobilization of foreign forces and jihadi groups" to challenge the government.
"Despite the pledges of good faith, the disarmament process that began Saturday was suddenly called into question yesterday by Gen. Diendere, who told his unit in fact that it could not be dissolved by the transitional government and that it was better to resist," said the statement.
In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Diendere said the presidential guard soldiers had not received the protections they initially were promised.
The presidential guard "agreed with disarmament, but there were no security measures for them or their families from the transitional government nor the military hierarchy," he said.
Under the peace deal brokered last week, the presidential guard members were supposed to give up their weapons and remain in their barracks. In return, members of the military who had come from around the country in a show of force agreed to withdraw from the capital, Ouagadougou.
Burkina Faso's transitional government has said that members of elite unit found to have played significant roles in the coup are to face trial.
Ahmed reported from Dakar, Senegal.