Mon, Jun 06, 2011 - Page 6 News List

Mutiny crushed in Burkina Faso

Reuters, OUAGADOUGOU

Seven people were killed and 33 injured when government troops crushed a mutiny in a military camp in Bobo Dioulasso, 350km from the Burkina Faso capital, officials said on Saturday.

Soldiers loyal to Burkinan President Blaise Compaore were ordered to attack the mutineers on Friday to stamp out a wave of protests in Bobo Dioulasso, the country’s economic capital, witnesses said.

Burkinan Minister of Territorial Administration and Security Jerome Bougouma said six mutinous soldiers were killed inside the camp during the fighting and a young girl, whose name and age were not given, died when she was hit by a stray bullet near the barracks.

The minister said 25 civilians and eight soldiers were injured in the fighting and 57 mutinous soldiers were arrested.

The mutiny was the latest unrest to hit the usually placid cotton and gold-producing West African nation since Compaore extended his 24-year rule with a landslide 80.15 percent win in a poll last November that rivals said was not credible.

“The government’s position is clear. It remains open to negotiations and dialogue, but when it comes to such excesses, the government has the means to restore order and discipline and will do it,” Bougouma said.

The government said on Friday that the armed forces had been ordered to “forcibly disarm” the mutineers and that operations to restore order were under way.

Poor, landlocked Burkina Faso has seen several months of protests by soldiers, students and traders complaining about pay and living conditions.

The soldiers complained initially about delays in receiving their pay, but witnesses said they then pillaged food stocks and shops in the business district and the central market.

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