Ex-soldier seized in Burkina Faso after coup accusations

A decorated Burkina Faso army officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel Zoungrana, was abducted on Wednesday, just a day after his release on charges of attempting to destabilize the country.

Zoungrana, 42, had been detained in January 2022 under the previous civilian government led by President Roch Marc Christian Kabore. 

He was provisionally released in December 2022 but rearrested after the military coups that brought Captain Ibrahim Traore to power. 

This time, the charges were against Traore’s regime.

Zoungrana’s wife, Aminata Diarra, confirmed his abduction on social media. 

His lawyer revealed that although provisionally released for health reasons in December 2023, Zoungrana remained under watch.

The kidnapping adds another layer of complexity to Burkina Faso’s already volatile situation. 

The West African nation has been battling an insurgency waged by Al-Qaeda and Islamic State group affiliates since 2015, leading to thousands of deaths and millions displaced. 

Zoungrana himself was previously decorated for his role in reclaiming territory from the insurgents.

The circumstances surrounding Zoungrana’s abduction remain unclear. 

It’s unclear whether the kidnapping is linked to his previous charges or a separate event.

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