Burkina Faso to freeze assets of coup plotters

AP News
Posted: Sep 26, 2015 5:08 PM

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Burkina Faso is freezing the assets of the leaders of the coup launched earlier this month, the state prosecutor said Saturday. An investigation will determine who will stand trial for the short-lived rebellion, the prime minister announced earlier.

Assets will be frozen for three months for 14 individuals, including coup leader Gen. Gilbert Diendere and his wife Fatou Diendere, a parliamentary member of the former ruling party, Laurent Poda said in a statement released Saturday. They will be restricted to withdrawals of 300,000 CFA ($512) each month, he said. The assets of three political parties have also been frozen, he said.

The elite presidential guard arrested Interim President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida on Sept. 16. Diendere then took power, but stepped down after pressure from the West African regional bloc, Burkina Faso's military and demonstrating citizens. Kafando and Zida were reinstalled as the transitional government on Wednesday.

Zida said Friday a 30-day investigation will be launched into the coup. Those found to have played significant roles will go to court, he said. The others will be reintegrated into the army.

Kafando on Friday signed a decree to disband the presidential guard. He also fired its commander and the country's security minister, according to the edict announced on national television.

Burkina Faso's armed forces said that they started disarming the presidential guard Friday. The elite force of about 1,300 was formed by former President Blaise Compaore, who was ousted in October. Its members mounted the coup, unhappy that Compaore supporters were barred from running in elections.

The vote was scheduled for Oct. 11 — but Prime Minister Zida said elections are postponed for several weeks.

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

U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice issued a statement Saturday congratulating the people of Burkina Faso "for their success in defending Burkinabe democracy and reinstating the transitional government. "

"The success of the people of Burkina Faso in peacefully resisting the actions of a few who sought to undermine democracy is a reminder that ordinary citizens with the courage to speak out against injustices are the ultimate protectors of democratic governance," she said.