Ousted interim leader resumes office

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with Michel Kafando, President of Burkina Faso
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with Michel Kafando, President of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso’s interim president is declaring he is once again in charge of the country a week after General Gilbert Diendere and his supporters overthrew him and his transitional government.

Interim President Michel Kafando, who had been arrested by members of the presidential guard a week ago, has sought refuge at the residence of the French ambassador.

In recent days, Burkina Faso’s army sent troops into the capital to pressure Diendere and his soldiers to cede power. The military threatened to disarm them by force if necessary.

A regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States, also called on the junta to lay down its arms.

 

“During this ordeal we have fought together and in freedom we triumph together,” Kafando said in a declaration to the nation as presidents of neighbouring countries arrived in Burkina Faso.

“We are proud of the intrepidity of the Burkinabe people, in particular its youth,” he added.

Kafando’s return caps a tumultuous week in Burkina Faso, where Diendere and his supporters seized power a month before an election was due. The vote was organized after longtime leader Blaise Compaore was ousted in October in a popular uprising. The transitional government led by Kafando was to be charge until that vote.

The military said on Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with other members of Diendere’s guard overnight.

Diendere had been an aide to Compaore and the head of the presidential guard under him.