Disgruntled soldiers fire in Burkina's capital

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 15, 2011 5:03 AM
Disgruntled soldiers fire in Burkina's capital

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Soldiers in Burkina Faso fired their weapons near the presidential palace late on Thursday, a military source told Reuters, following a series of protests by the army since last month.

The source, who asked not to be named, said some members of the presidential security regiment stationed near the palace had fired into the air, adding "we don't know what they want."

A Reuters witness heard automatic weapons fire around 2100 GMT on Thursday.

President Blaise Compaore agreed in March to meet army officers to discuss their grievances after a series of violent protests by soldiers in the landlocked West African nation over the arrest of a colleague.

"The mutiny is a major concern as soldiers of the presidential guard are better paid than the others," said Lydie Boka, analyst at Strategico.

"Over the recent weeks, students and the general population as well as the opposition have taken to the streets in Burkina to protest against the regime."

Burkina Faso has been under Compaore's tight rule since 1987 and has been spared the conflicts and upheavals seen in many of its neighbors.

(Reporting by Mathieu Bonkoungou; additional reporting and writing by Richard Valdmanis, editing by Janet Lawrence)