Seven Dead in Latest Burkina Faso Unrest

Posted June 4th, 2011 at 11:05 am (UTC-5)
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Burkina Faso says seven people, including a young girl, were killed when the military suppressed a mutiny in the country's commercial capital, Bobo Dioulasso.

Officials Saturday said that six soldiers died in an exchange of gunfire Friday between rioting troops and the soldiers sent to subdue them. The officials said the young girl was shot by a stray bullet during the battle.

Witnesses in the southwestern city said the mutinous soldiers had spent several days looting and shooting into the air. Merchants then retaliated by ransacking local government offices.

Forces arrived and surrounded the Ouezzin Coulibaly military camp where many of the protesting soldiers were based. Later, military officials said they regained control of the camp and were searching for some soldiers who had fled.

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

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

These 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.