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Burkina Faso's new PM promises inclusive gov't

AP News
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Posted: Apr 20, 2011 1:50 PM
Burkina Faso's new PM promises inclusive gov't

Burkina Faso's new prime minister said Wednesday he will appoint an inclusive government to resolve the causes behind a mutiny that threatened the president's 24-year rule in the impoverished country.

In his first interview since his appointment on Monday, Luc Adolphe Tiao told state television that the government appointed this week in the aftermath of the unrest would work through dialogue to solve the crisis. Tiao, the West African country's ambassador to France, was appointed Monday. President Blaise Compaore tried to stem the unrest Friday by dissolving the government _ but keeping himself in power _ and removing the country's security chiefs, including the army head.

"Our society has been through a difficult period," Tiao said. "... Without peace there will not be democracy, and without peace there will not be development."

The mutiny began Thursday in the capital when members of the presidential guard began firing into the air, demanding unpaid housing allowances. By Monday, soldiers in several cities north, south, east and west of Ouagadougou joined in and students burned down the ruling party headquarters and the prime minister's house in a central city.

The country's new army chief on Tuesday also pledged to work to resolve the crisis. An elite group of soldiers on Monday put out a call for their colleagues to stop protesting and apologized for the unrest.

This year's uprisings started in late February when students protested a young man's death in custody. The government said he had meningitis, but accusations he had been mistreated while in custody fueled protests in which at least six people died and buildings were torched.

Experts say hostilities in the landlocked West African country have been simmering for a long time.

Compaore, a former army captain, came to power in a 1987 coup in which Burkina Faso's first president, Thomas Sankara, was killed. Compaore was re-elected in November in a vote that the opposition said was rigged.