OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Ten soldiers from a disbanded elite unit loyal to Burkina Faso’s former president have been arrested in connection with a raid on an armory outside the capital, an army spokesman said Saturday.
The pre-dawn raid at the weapons warehouse on Friday morning exacerbated security concerns in the West African country just one week after Islamic extremists attacked a cafe and hotel popular with foreigners in Ouagadougou, killing at least 30 people.
The arrested soldiers come from Burkina Faso’s former presidential guard, which was also behind a brief, failed coup last September. The unit was disbanded after the coup, and many of its 1,300 members were integrated into other army units.
Some members remain on the run, however, and last month officials accused them of plotting to attack a military prison and free their former leader, Gen. Gilbert Diendere, who was arrested after the coup.
Willy Yameogo, director of communications for the army, said at a press conference Saturday night that one civilian was also arrested in connection with Friday’s armory raid. He described this person as a “religious” figure but did not provide details. He said more arrests were expected as the investigation continued.
Officials have not specified how many weapons were seized during the raid, though Yameogo said some Kalashnikov rifles and anti-tank rocket launchers remained unaccounted for. Col. Gaoussou Coulibaly, head of the army operations unit, said ammunition had not been taken.
Military officials are asking the public for help in catching anyone else who might have been involved.
The armory raid, Coulibaly said, was “an act of revenge by some of the former guards who are not happy with their new situation.”
BRAHIMA OUEDRAOGO, Associated Press
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