Three soldiers arrested in Burkina over ‘plot’ against junta

Burkina Faso’s military prosecutor announced on Friday that three soldiers have been apprehended and charged with conspiring against the ruling junta.

In a statement, the investigator explained that they had received a tip-off last month regarding “soldiers and former soldiers working in intelligence” who were surveilling the residences and other sites frequented by prominent figures within the junta, including Captain Ibrahim Traore.

Their objective, as stated, was to undermine the stability of the transition, which refers to the interim military governance period preceding the scheduled elections.

The investigations ultimately resulted in the arrest of the three individuals, who have been remanded into custody by an examining magistrate.

They have been formally charged with various offenses, including “military plot, breach of military orders, plotting against state security, criminal association and endangerment”, as stated by Military Prosecutor Major Alphonse Zorma in the announcement.

The three individuals have been identified as Warrant Officer Windinmalegde Kabore, Sergeant Brice Ismael Ramde, and former Corporal Sami Dah. It’s noteworthy that Sami Dah had previously faced conviction in a state conspiracy case back in 2015.

“(They) unequivocally admitted the facts,” said Zorma.

The economically challenged Sahel state stands as one of Africa’s most tumultuous nations, marked by scarce instances of stability since achieving independence from France in 1960 when it was known as the Republic of Upper Volta.

The past year witnessed two coups, each driven by mounting frustration within the military due to the prolonged jihadist insurgency and its devastating impact.

Traore assumed power on September 30, 2022, at the remarkably young age of 34, making him the world’s youngest leader outside of royalty.

He removed Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba from power, who, a little over eight months prior, had overthrown Burkina’s democratically elected president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

Shortly after Traore’s assumption of power, military prosecutors in December revealed that there had been an attempt to “destabilise state institutions.”

The individuals implicated in the attempt were identified as civilians and a lieutenant-colonel named Emmanuel Zoungrana, according to the prosecutors.

Since jihadists from neighboring Mali initiated their campaign in 2015, over 16,000 civilians, soldiers, and police have lost their lives in Burkina Faso, as reported by the NGO monitor, the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).

This has led to over two million people being displaced from their homes, resulting in one of Africa’s most severe internal displacement crises.

Traore has pledged a return to democracy, with presidential elections scheduled for July 2024.

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