Burkina Faso president disbands presidential guard

AP News
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Posted: Sep 25, 2015 8:50 PM
Burkina Faso president disbands presidential guard

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Burkina Faso's transitional president on Friday signed a decree to disband the presidential guard that staged a coup more than a week ago.

Interim President Michel Kafando also fired the commander of the presidential guard, Col. Boureima Kere, and the country's security minister, Col. Sidi Pare, according to the decree that was read on national television.

Burkina Faso's armed forces said in a communique that they have started disarming the presidential guard and there is an inventory of their weapons.

The decision was made after Kafando met with interim Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida and other ministers for the first cabinet meeting since the transitional government was reinstalled Wednesday.

Zida, who formerly served as the second in command for the presidential guard, said earlier he favored the action to disarm and disband the group.

Members of the presidential guard mounted the coup last week, unhappy that the transitional government had barred supporters loyal to former President Blaise Compaore from participating as candidates in the country's national election. Compaore was ousted in a popular uprising in October.

Coup leader Gen. Gilbert Diendere on Wednesday stepped down at the order of the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States, and under pressure from the military and citizens.

At least 11 people died and 271 were wounded in violence that followed the coup, the government said Friday.

Kafando must now organize an election to install a democratic government in Burkina Faso. The vote was originally scheduled for Oct. 11 — but Zida said Friday the election would be postponed by at least several weeks.

"We need to bring security to the country, to the people, before we can restart the electoral process," he said.

ECOWAS leaders suggested a Nov. 22 election date and recommended that Compaore's allies be allowed to field candidates. Some civil society associations and political parties have come out against amnesty for coup leaders.

The prime minister said Diendere's future was still being considered and an investigation is being launched into the coup.

"Justice will be served after the conclusion of these investigations," Zida said.

Diendere has said he regretted the coup.

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This story has been corrected to say that Zida was second in command, but no longer is.