Soldiers arrest president and premier in Burkina Faso

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Ouagadougou (dpa) – Soldiers on Wednesday interrupted a cabinet meeting in Burkina Faso, detaining President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida, the radio station Omega FM and the broadcaster Bf1 TV reported.

They also arrested several ministers.

Kafando and Zida were negotiating with the soldiers, the reports said.

The soldiers reportedly belong to the Presidential Security Regiment, the dissolution of which had been recommended to Kafando by a reform and reconciliation commission formed after previous president Blaise Compaore fled the country in October.

The commission, which includes prominent Burkinabes and civil society representatives, proposed that the presidential guard be integrated into the military police, the gendarmerie.

Kafando was chosen interim president in November.

Initially, Zida, the second-in-command of the presidential guard, had taken power when Compaore fled to Ivory Coast on October 31 after massive demonstrations demanding an end to his 27-year rule.

The African Union threatened Burkina Faso with sanctions unless power was handed over to civilians, and an agreement was reached on a transitional period in the run-up to elections on October 11.

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