May 13, 2022

In Burkina Faso, “shots” heard in several barracks

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Security patrols during a demonstration in Ouagadougou, January 22, 2022.

Gunshots were heard on Sunday, January 23, in several barracks in Burkina Faso, including three located in the country’s capital, Ouagadougou, according to several sources. “Since 1 a.m. [2 heures à Paris], shots were heard here, in Gounghin, coming from the Sangoulé-Lamizana camp”, said a soldier from this district located at the western exit of Ouagadougou, which residents confirmed, speaking of “increasingly heavy fire”.

Gunshots were also heard in another military camp in Ouagadougou, that of Baba Sy, at the southern exit of the capital, and at the air base near the airport, according to military sources. Gunshots also occurred in barracks in Kaya and Ouahigouya, according to residents contacted by Agence France-Presse.

Read also In Burkina Faso, two demonstrations banned in Ouagadougou

The government of Burkina Faso acknowledged on Sunday that « tirs » had taken place in several barracks in the country, but denied “a takeover by the army”. “Information conveyed in social networks tends to make believe in a takeover by the army on this day [dimanche] », said a statement from government spokesman Alkassoum Maiga. “The government, while recognizing the effectiveness of shooting in certain barracks, denies this information and calls on the populations to remain calm”, he adds. For its part, the Ministry of Defense states that“no institution of the Republic has yet been worried”.

These movements in the barracks come the day after new demonstrations of anger from residents exasperated by the powerlessness of the authorities to deal with the jihadist violence which is ravaging Burkina Faso. On Saturday, incidents erupted in Ouagadougou and other cities across the country between law enforcement and demonstrators who defied a ban on gathering to protest insecurity.

Military detainees

Burkina Faso has been caught in a spiral of violence since 2015 attributed to armed jihadist groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State organization. Attacks targeting civilians and soldiers are increasingly frequent and mostly concentrated in the north and east of the country.

Again on Saturday, at least two soldiers were killed and several injured in the explosion of an artisanal device, on the axis between Ouahigouya and Titao (North), as their vehicle which was escorting traders passed, according to security sources and local.

Read also Unprecedented explosive device attack injures four French soldiers in Burkina Faso

On December 23, an ambush by armed groups targeting a supply convoy made up of civilians and “volunteers for the defense of the homeland” (VDP, army auxiliaries) in the You area, had killed 41 people, including the famous Ladji Yoro, considered a leader of the VDP.

Violence by jihadist groups has killed more than 2,000 people over the past six years and forced 1.5 million people to flee their homes. Several soldiers have been detained since mid-January for alleged acts of “attempt to destabilize institutions”. Among them, Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel Zoungrana, ex-corps commander of the 12e commando infantry regiment, which until now was commander of the western sector forces grouping, engaged in the fight against terrorism.

The World with AFP