Friday, January 21

Burkina: tension in Ouagadougou where the police disperse anti-power demonstrators

Police officers fire tear gas against protesters, September 16, 2021 in Ouagadougou, Burkina FasoISSOUF SANOGO

The situation was tense on Saturday in Ouagadougou where the Burkinabè security forces dispersed several hundred demonstrators demanding the departure of President Marc Roch Christian Kaboré, accused of being “incapable” of curbing jihadist violence.

The riot police fired tear gas to prevent the demonstrators from gathering at Place de la Nation, in the center of the Burkinabè capital, crisscrossed by an important security device and where all businesses were closed, noted a journalist from the ‘AFP.

“The march is prohibited, disperse, go home,” said a policeman to the demonstrators before the dispersal.

In several districts of the capital, angry young people erected makeshift barricades and set tires on fire to prevent gendarmes and police from coming to disperse other gatherings.

These gatherings of demonstrators who wish to denounce the “inability” of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré to face the jihadist violence that has ravaged Burkina Faso since 2015, had been banned by the town hall of Ouagadougou.

“I invite you to take all the measures that you deem useful so that no illegal demonstration can take place on the municipal territory” of Ouagadougou, asked the mayor Armand Beouindé, in a note addressed to the commanders of the gendarmerie, of the national and municipal police.

One of the demonstrators, Fabrice Sawadogo, a young man of 28, affirmed that “after seven years of incapacity in the face of the terrorist attacks which mourn us every day, it is time to demand the departure of the regime”. “We don’t have to negotiate with an incompetent government that has to admit that it has failed,” he said.

The November 27 Coalition, bringing together three civil society organizations, called on “all Burkinabè to go out en masse” on Saturday “in a peaceful atmosphere, to denounce the growing insecurity and demand the departure of the Head of State” , Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.

Qualifying as “very chaotic” the situation in Burkina Faso “marked by a tattered security”, the spokesperson of the coalition, Moussa Konaté, announced that in addition to Ouagadougou, demonstrations were also planned in Bobo Dioulasso, second city of the countries, and other major cities.

“We are in a context of insecurity that everyone denounces. We should not undertake marches for which we do not really see the platform of demands,” retorted Benewende Sankara, Minister of Habitat, denouncing on behalf of the majority presidential “untimely demonstrations”.

– Mobile Internet cut –

Other civil society movements have called for standing out from these demonstrations so as “not to be complicit with those who want to bring chaos to the country”.

As anger grows in Burkina Faso, the government “decided to extend the suspension of mobile internet for a period of 96 hours from Wednesday”, throughout the national territory, after a previous interruption of four days for “security reason”.

Burkina Faso has been caught since 2015 in a spiral of violence attributed to jihadist armed groups, affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Attacks targeting civilians and soldiers are increasingly frequent and the vast majority concentrated in the north and east of the country.

The attack on November 14 on a gendarmerie detachment in Inata (north) which had previously called for help – one of the deadliest against the security forces in six years – deeply shocked the Burkinabè: at least 57 people, including 53 gendarmes, were killed by armed jihadists.

“We must put an end to the unacceptable dysfunctions which undermine the morale of our fighting troops and hamper their effectiveness in the fight against armed terrorist groups,” President Kaboré said Thursday evening, words often repeated which no longer convince in the country.

Sometimes mixed with intercommunal clashes, jihadist violence has killed around 2,000 people over the past six years and forced 1.4 million people to flee their homes.

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