Burkina Faso Troops Sent to Quell Unrest by Soldiers

Posted June 3rd, 2011 at 4:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Burkina Faso's military says it has put down a mutiny in the country's commercial capital, where unruly troops spent several days looting and shooting into the air.

Witnesses in the southwestern city of Bobo Dioulasso say troops arrived in the city Friday morning. They say the town's siren sounded early in the day signaling residents to stay indoors and said after that they could hear the sound of heavy fighting.

Witnesses also say forces surrounded the Ouezzin Coulibaly military camp where hundreds of soldiers who staged the protests are based.

Military officials say they now have control of the camp, but are still searching for some mutinous soldiers who have fled.

Witnesses in the city say the mutinous soldiers rampaged through the town for several days, looting shops. Merchants then retaliated by ransacking local government offices.

The West African nation has seen a string of protests in recent months by soldiers, police, teachers and students. Until now, most of those demonstrations have taken place in the capital, Ouagadougou.

The unrest began in February with protests against rising food prices, crime and slow government reform.

The protests mark the most significant uprising to date against the government of President Blaise Compaore, who has ruled the nation for nearly 25 years.

Mr. Compaore seized power in a 1987 coup and was re-elected to another term last November.