Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Analysts: Burkina Faso averts coup involving military incursions

Burkina Faso’s military prosecutor said this week that authorities had arrested eight soldiers after local media reported a plot to overthrow the state. Burkina Faso has been rattled by increasingly deadly Islamist militant attacks and widespread protests over insecurity. Analysts have warned that the military could be unhappy with the government and its efforts to stop the attacks.

Burkina Faso’s government has yet to confirm or deny local media reports that the eight soldiers arrested this week were in fact planning a coup.

The military prosecutor’s office issued a statement Tuesday, saying the soldiers were arrested on charges of conspiring to destabilize the country and were being investigated.

It did not provide any further details.

Within minutes of the statement, local media began speculating that the attempt to overthrow the government had been foiled.

Siaka Coulibally is an analyst with the Center for Public Policy Monitoring by Citizens in Burkina Faso.

The information we have suggests that there is some possibility that this was an attempted coup, he says. Do we know that for sure, Koulibaly asks, and do we know that this effort was actually likely to be successful?

Media reports have detained Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Zongrana and seven other soldiers.

President Roch Kabore relieved Lieutenant Colonel Zongrana in December after an attack on a military base in northern Burkina Faso killed at least 49 soldiers.

The increasing number of attacks on soldiers and civilians has been attributed to al-Qaeda-linked terrorists.

Coulibally says that Cabore’s recent sacking of military leaders could have sparked fighting within the army.

He says that there may be some accountability between the leaders of different units. He says that we should be cautious while waiting for the investigation to give more concrete results.

Rumors of a possible coup in Burkina Faso have been underlined with disruption on the internet.

The internet was shut down for eight days in November during protests against the government and insecurity.

Mobile internet services were disrupted this week as soldiers were arrested.

Andrew Lebouch is an analyst at the Berlin-headquartered European Council on Foreign Relations.

“There has been persistent unrest and unhappiness within the ranks of Burkina Faso’s armed forces as the security situation worsens, amid a feeling that the government is not doing enough or following the right strategy in fighting terrorism. … on the part of the government, there is likely some concern given the coup d’état about unrest among soldiers in more elite units in Mali and Guinea,” Lebouch said.

But analysts have warned that a military takeover would further damage Burkina Faso’s security and stability.

Michael Sherkin is the Director of Global Programs at 14-N Strategies, a Senegalese and US-based consultancy.

“The coup in Burkina Faso would be disastrous for Burkina Faso and also for the region … it would weaken the government of Burkina Faso and make it less capable of dealing with the insurgency, which those who supported the coup feel that It will be … Burkina Faso’s real strength, it is the wealth, the vitality of its democracy.”

Burkina Faso’s final coup was carried out by supporters of former President Blaise Compaore in 2015, just a month before the country’s first democratic elections.

A popular rebellion overthrew Compaore’s 27-year rule in 2014 and he fled into exile in Ivory Coast.

Elections were held in November, with Roch Kabore elected as president.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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