OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Burkina Faso’s government has asked citizens to avoid aggression against the presidential guard that staged a coup earlier this month.
The warning came in response to reports that presidential guard members and their families are being attacked as the elite group of soldiers is being disbanded.
“The government invites the populations to remain calm and exert restraint,” the government said in a statement late Saturday.
Transitional President Michel Kafando announced the disbandment of the unit of about 1,300 soldiers late Friday and fired its commander and the minister of security. Burkina Faso on Saturday announced that it would freeze the assets of coup leader Gen. Gilbert Diendere and 13 others allegedly associated with the coup.
The army began disarming the presidential guard on Friday, taking away trucks of ammunition and grenades, along with pickup trucks mounted with automatic machine guns and armored vehicles.
Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida said a 30-day investigation will be launched into the coup. Those found to have played significant roles will go to court, he said. The others will be reintegrated into the army.
A nationwide strike by labor unions to condemn the coup has been suspended and the unions have asked workers to return to work on Monday.
The elite presidential guard arrested Kafando and Zida on Sept. 16 and later announced the coup. Diendere then took power, but stepped down after pressure from the West African regional bloc, Burkina Faso’s military and demonstrating citizens. Kafando and Zida were reinstalled as the transitional government on Wednesday.
The elite presidential guard staged the coup, unhappy that supporters of former President Blaise Compaore, ousted in October in a popular uprising, couldn’t run in elections.
The vote was scheduled for Oct. 11 but Prime Minister Zida said elections are postponed for several weeks.
BRAHIMA OUEDRAOGO, Associated Press
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