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Soldiers End Mutiny in Burkina Faso

July 15, 1999

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) _ Hundreds of soldiers demanding back wages briefly seized control of the main military barracks in Burkina Faso’s capital this morning and surrounded the defense ministry.

The mutiny ended four hours later after talks between the government and the troops in the West African nation.

The soldiers, most of them junior officers, had also surrounded the city’s main market, which is near the barracks, and had taken hostage the chairman of the joint chief of staff, Kouame Lougue.

While there were no reports of violence, the city was unnaturally quiet, with many people staying away because of the standoff.

The soldiers were demanding that the government repay them for money withdrawn from their salaries over the past 10 years. The money was to have been used to build housing for the soldiers, but the new buildings never went up.

Military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the soldiers suspended their mutiny after meeting with Lougue and Defense Minister Albert Millogo at the main barracks.

The soldiers gave the government until Wednesday to repay the money withdrawn from the salaries, the officials said. No further details of the talks were immediately available and it was not clear if Lougue had been freed.

Government officials, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said that an urgent cabinet meeting was underway this morning.

President Blaise Compaore, who took power in a military coup in 1987, later transformed his leadership into a civilian administration. He was re-elected in November.

Compaore returned Wednesday night from the annual summit of the Organization of African Unity, held this year in Algeria.

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