Civilian Rule Restored in Burkina Faso, the Land of Upright Men

Who will assume control in Burkina Faso and what will it mean?

By Ann Garrison

Reuters and other major outlets are reporting that this week’s coup d’état in Burkina Faso has been reversed and that civilian rule will be restored tomorrow.


KPFA Weekend News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: A coup d’état took place earlier this week in Burkina Faso, a landlocked West African nation of 17 million people bordering Mali, Protest of this week’s coup in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Burkina Faso’s Presidential Guard, a privileged military force created by former President Blaise Compaoré, seized power this week in the country’s capital Ougadougou. The coup took place nearly eleven months after hundreds of thousands of Burkinabe filled the streets of the capital, set the Parliament Building on fire, and forced Blaise Campaoré to step down. Compaoré, who ruled Burkina Faso for 27 years, is infamous for organizing the assassination of the country’s revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara with the help of France and the French puppet government of the Ivory Coast.

The coup plotters arrested the president, prime minister and cabinet members of the transitional government just three weeks before elections were to be held, then broadcast the announcement that they had taken over.

Coup plotter: Today, the patriotic and democratic forces uniting all of the nation’s elements gathered within the National Council for Democracy and decided to put an end to the deviant transition regime.

KPFA: The coup plotters also announced that they had closed the country’s borders.

Coup plotter: Burkina Faso’s land and air space borders are closed as of this day till further notice.

KPFA: At least six Burkinabe have been killed while protesting in the streets of the capital, the United Nations, the U.S., and France, the country’s former colonial ruler, have condemned the coup.

Burkina Faso hosts French special forces and serves as an important ally of both France and the United States in the fight against Islamic militants in West Africa.

Burkina Faso’s richest resources are manganese and gold. Manganese is one of the most important ferrous metals and one of the few for which the United
States is totally dependent on imports. It is a mineral with many applications in the manufacturing of iron, steel, aluminum alloys, batteries and chemicals.

The U.S. government classifies manganese as a strategic mineral because a steady supply of manganese materials is essential to weapons manufacture, and to an industrial economy, because it is essential to steel manufacture.

Several hours ago Reuters and other major outlets reported that the coup has been reversed, that Burkina Faso will return to civilian rule, and that the interim government led by the president, Michel Kafando, will be reinstated. Negotiations mediated by members of ECOWAS, the Economic Community Of West African States, are credited with the restoration of civilian rule.

In Berkeley, for Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.