Coup Capital: The country where revolts happen more than anywhere else in Africa

by Megan Palin

It’s the country that is only 43 years old. But in that time there has been 10 bloody coups, with plenty of other attempts foiled.

It’s the coup capital of Africa after experiencing 10 attempts to overthrow the government.

Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is also one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, hosts French special forces, and serves as an important ally of both France and the United States in the fight against Islamic militants in West Africa.

But Burkina Faso has seen the most coup attempts in the continent with six of the 10 taking place in the 1980s Long-time leader Blaise Compaoré came to power after a bloody 1987 revolt that killed the West African nation’s revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara. Mr Compaoré ruled for 27 years until October 2014 when he was ousted in yet another coup. Gunfire rang out in the streets, as Burkina Faso’s military took to the airwaves to declare it now controlled the West African country in the uprising mounted weeks before elections.

The military took immediate charge of the country in a move condemned by the Op- position, civil society groups, the US and the African Union until Foreign Minister Michel Kafando was appointed in- terim president.

Mr Compaoré tried to amend the constitution to seek an- other term in office but was eventually forced to step down. He was exiled and is now living as a citizen of the Ivory Coast.

Human rights groups want him extradited to face justice for several murders he is ac- cused of during his reign, including that of Mr Sankara. In September 2015, Mr Kafando faced a brief coup staged by a security regiment loyal to Mr Compaoré when his powerful Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) burst into a Cabinet meeting and took the interim President and Prime Minister Isaac Zida hostage.

Street protests erupted out- side the presidential palace where the interim leaders were being held, with RSP officers firing live ammunition to disperse demonstrators. At least 10 people were killed and several others were treated for gunshot wounds, according to a worker at the main hospital in the capital, Ouagadougou.

At the time, the coup was the country’s sixth since it won independence from France in 1960. But it wouldn’t be the last. The forces loyal to the ex-President surrendered a week later after protests and opposition from top generals. In November of the same year, French-educated banker Roch Marc Christian Kaboré won the presidential election. He spoke of the historic nature of the election at the time. “The people of Burkina Faso have decided to take control of their destiny,” Mr Kaboré said.

Just 11 months later, in Octo- ber 2016, a coup plot by forces loyal to Mr Compaoré was foiled by police. The coup was to have been staged with an attack on the presi- dential palace.

The latest plotters had also planned to attack a prison to free those held over the 2015 coup, Interior Minister Simon Compaoré told an Ouagadougou press conference at the time.

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Posted by on Dec 12 2017. Filed under African News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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