Burkinabé soldiers detained for a plot to “destabilize” institutions | News

Authorities say the alleged plot was uncovered after a “gang member” exposed the plan.

Burkinabe authorities say eight soldiers, including a high-ranking commander, were arrested in connection with an alleged plot to “destabilize” the country’s institutions.

Tuesday’s announcement came after President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré replaced the entire government amid an escalating security crisis that led to street protests calling for his resignation.

The military prosecutor’s office said in a statement to have learned of the alleged plot Saturday after “a member of the gang” denounced the plan.

An investigation was opened and eight soldiers were arrested for questioning, he added.

The government of Burkina Faso has come under sustained pressure over the failure to stem the bloodshed of a brutal six-year conflict with armed groups linked to ISIL (ISIL) and al-Qaeda which killed some 2,000 people, forced 1.4 million people from their homes and created a huge humanitarian crisis.

Security sources told AFP news agency that Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel Zoungrana, commander of Western forces fighting armed groups in the country, was among those arrested.

One of the security sources said that “suspicion of a plot to destabilize [the government] with ramifications abroad ”weighed on Zoungrana and several soldiers since protests erupted in November calling for Kaboré to renounce the escalation of violence.

At the time, the government suspended mobile internet service for more than a week, as the tense situation prompted the UN special envoy to West Africa to warn against any military takeovers.

Governments in parts of the region are on high alert for coups d’etat after the successful coup d’etats over the past 18 months in Mali and Guinea. The military also took over in Chad last year after President Idriss Deby died on the battlefield.

Neighboring governments have imposed heavy sanctions on military leaders in Guinea and Mali to avoid any contagion effects.

In Burkina Faso, Lassina Zerbo, a former UN official who was installed as prime minister of the new government, called for “cohesion” in the face of the armed threat.

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