Compaoré Removes Government and Replaces Army Chief

Shots could be heard in several areas of the capital until the early hours of the morning as the army mutiny, which started Thursday in two barracks in the capital, spread to a third barracks about five kilometres from the city centre.

Witnesses said the mutineers looted consumer goods and jewellery stores in the city centre as well as in several suburbs. Passers-by also joined in the pillaging.

Hundreds of protesting vendors at Ouagadougou’s main market, who say they are targets for the looters, then set fire to the headquarters of the ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) in the capital’s business district.

Banks in the city, normally open on Saturday, have remained closed amid the chaos.

 Blaise Compaoré, president of Burkina Faso.

Seeking to reassert his authority after a mutiny by his personal guard and mass streets protests on Thursday and Friday, the president announced the dissolution of his government on Friday night. The president also named Colonel-Major Honore Nabere Traore as army chief to replace General Dominique Djindjere.

In power since a 1987 military coup, Compaore is reported to have slipped out of Ouagadougou on Thursday night to spend a few hours in his home town, Ziniare, around 30 kilometres north of the capital, but he is said to have returned later.

Compaore, himself a former army captain, was re-elected in November with more than 80 percent of the vote, having won all elections since 1991.