Burkina Faso Coup Leader ArrestedOctober 2, 2015 in Burkina Faso
The leader of the country’s short-lived coup was in police custody after he handed himself in as authorities ramped up a probe into last month’s putsch.
Sources have reported that General Gilbert Diendere, who had indicated several times that he was willing to face justice following the 17 September coup, was being held at the Paspanga police base, which is located near the centre of the capital. News of his arrest was met with cheers on the streets of Ouagadougou. On Tuesday, the general sought refuge at the residence of the Vatican’s ambassador just before an army raid on the barracks of his elite military regiment. In a statement, the interim government disclosed that “general Diendere and his accomplices will answer for all the offences of which they are accused,” adding that a commission of inquiry was already “hard at work” investigating the coup. A military source has disclosed that military justice will deal with General Diendere. On Wednesday, six officers who took part in the coup were arrested while lieutenant colonel Mamadou Bamba, who had read the coup plotters’ statements on television, handed himself over to police the following day. Interim authorities have accused General Diendere, who has been involved in several negotiations for hostages held by Tuareg groups in the Sahel region, of “mobilizing foreign forces and jihadis groups” in the coup. He has rejected these allegations.
Meanwhile on Thursday, the vice president of a Tuareg rebel movement, Mahamadou Djeri Maiga, was briefly arrested at Ouagadougou airport over suspected links to the coup. According to a source, Djeri Maiga, the vice president of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), “was arrested over allegations that he provided logistical support to the coup.” He was held Thursday afternoon at Ouagadougou airport as he tried to board a plane to leave the country. He was released after several hours.
According to a senior army source, a majority of troops from the presidential guard (RSP) had joined loyalist units after their regiment was disbanded under the peace agreement and assigned to other unites. A source in the army high command has disclosed that more than 800 men of the RSP’s 1,300-strong force have taken up new postings, adding that the remainder are being sought. The military source indicated that those who have yet to join loyalist forces have until Friday in order to show up at their new postings, adding that if they fail to do so, they “will be considered deserters.”