During a Council of Ministers meeting on September 16, 2015, President Kafando, Prime Minister Zida and two ministers from the former Presidential Guard (RSP) were taken hostage. On 17.09. the putschists set up a ” National Council for Democracy “. The leader of this military junta was General Gilbert Diendéré, formerly one of the closest confidants of the ousted President Blaise Compaoré, his special chief of staff and chief of the RSP. He was proclaimed the new president. Diendéré has been linked to the murder of Thomas Sankara and numerous other state crimes. The coup was supposed to prevent a ” destabilization ” of the country.
The president of the transitional council Cheriff Sy declared himself the provisional transitional president of the country. President Kafando was by his captors released, but initially refused to go home, as long as the Prime Minister was being held.
The media were turned off, popular radio stations were devastated or set on fire. As a result of confrontations between the military and demonstrators, around 10 people were shot dead and over 100 injured. Demonstrations were broken up by aerial shots. As a result, barricades were erected in many streets. Trade unions called for a general strike. The rapper Smockey, Leader of the Balai Citoyen Movement, called on the people to general mobilize in all neighborhoods. His recording studio was hit by a rocket. There were large demonstrations in all major cities. The majority of the national army did not support the ousted president’s privileged soldiers. Resistance movements called on soldiers to disobey.
The coup was also met with broad opposition outside of Burkina Faso. The EU condemned the coup and demanded the release of the imprisoned representatives of the transitional government. Similarly, also expressed the African Union, the ECOWAS, the United Nations as well as France and USA.
Mediation by the CEDEAO met with outrage in civil society
A mediation commission of the CEDEAO chaired by Senegalese President Macky Sall had on 20.09. a ” compromise ” was drawn up, which had been read out in the Hotel Laïco by the Commission chairman and former Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo. CNT President Cheriff Sy did not accept the proposal and presented his own 3-point proposal, according to which the putschist Diendéré must be arrested immediately.
The CEDEAO proposal met with outrage from intellectuals and civil society. Basically, it seemed absurd to negotiate and make concessions with terrorists and traitors who are holding the people hostage. In particular, the impunity for state crimes and corruption that the proposal implied appeared scandalous and was a throwback to the darkest times of autocratic rule. On social networks, the proposal was described as an insult to the Burkinabe people and mockery of those killed in the coup. The reintegration of the candidates closely related to Blaise Compaoré met with incomprehension from politicians, lawyers and professors. Citizens’ movement spokesman, lawyer Guy-Hervé Kam, called the CEDEAO proposal a shame and emphasized: “I am ashamed to be an African.”
Army from all parts of the country are marching on Ouagadougou
From noon on 09/21/2015, national troops of the Burkinabe army from garrisons all over the country marched on Ouagadougou. According to franciscogardening, they were en masse by the people with the slogan “Free the people!” supported. After the failure of the CEDEAO diplomacy, a confrontation between the national army and the well-armed presidential guard was imminent. The army command said that the entire army was moving on Ouagadougou. The Presidential Guard should “lay down their arms immediately and retire to the Sangoulé Lamizana military camp.” They would be safe there with their families.
Transitional government back in office – putschist army before military court
On the 23.09. President Kafando was reintroduced into office in the presence of six West African heads of state. In his speech to the nation, he emphasized that in accordance with the transitional charter, he would continue his government until there were free elections.
A military confrontation between the loyal army and the presidential guard was prevented by the signing of an agreement with the king of the Mossi tribe. The Presidential Guard withdrew to the “Naba Koom” barracks. According to the decision of the Council of Ministers on 25.09. Prime Minister Zida announced the dissolution of the Presidential Guard.
Parts of the presidential guard resisted for almost a week until the putschist leader Diendéré fled to the apostolic nunciature in Ouagadougou, from where he was extradited to the national gendarmerie. A commission was set up to investigate the background to the coup. Further arrests have been made and the investigations have been turned over to a military tribunal.
The people striving for democracy emerged stronger from the two-week turbulent events. The putschists ultimately made it possible for the government and the army to do away with all supporters of the old regime. The intermediaries were also losersthe CEDEAO (ECOWAS), whose dubious concessions to the putschists became irrelevant.
On the one hand, a sigh of relief went through Burkina Faso – despite officially 15 dead and 251 injured – after the coup was successfully put down, on the other hand, a geostrategic military shift is feared that would make the country more vulnerable from outside. Diendéré was the center of international networks and worked as an agent between powers in neighboring countries as well as France, the USA and jihadists in key positions. On October 9, there was an attack on a gendarmerie post in the west of the country, 30 km behind the Mali-Burkinabe border – apparently carried out by 50 jihadists with four dead.
Reasons for the coup
The coup was linked, among other things, to the October 11 elections and the exclusion of candidates who supported the former president. They advocated a constitutional amendment that would allow Blaise Compaoré to be re-elected (see below). This particularly affected Eddie Komboigo, a brother-in-law and best man of Diendéré, candidate of the CDP, whose vice-chairman is Diendéré’s wife Fatou. The political life of his family was therefore at stake for Diendéré. In addition, according to the recommendation of the National Reconciliation and Reform Commission of the transitional parliament on September 14, 2015, his presidential guard with around 1,300 privileged elite soldiers was about to be dissolved. During the transition period, the Guard brutally interfered in politics several times. The coup was an always deliberate takeover of power by a military junta without orientation or values that had its own reason. The military arm of the economic empire of the displaced Compaoré family tried to regain the lost political power. Personally, he became Diendéré’s last opportunity not to fall into a politically powerless sideline with his family.