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Military unrest spreads in Burkina Faso

The events pose a challenge to President Blaise Compaore. The events pose a challenge to President Blaise Compaore.
Associated Press / April 19, 2011

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OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Students burned down the ruling party headquarters and the prime minister’s house in a central city yesterday and a soldiers’ mutiny spread to several corners of Burkina Faso, posing a grave challenge to a president who seized power in a bloody coup 24 years ago.

President Blaise Compaore had announced Friday that he was dissolving his government and naming a new army chief and a new head of presidential security. But the steps have failed to stem the discontent that is sweeping over this impoverished nation in West Africa that seems inspired by revolts in Arab nations.

Late yesterday, the government announced a new prime minister, Luc Adolphe Tiao, a longtime ally of the president and the country’s ambassador to France.

The mutiny began Thursday night in Compaore’s presidential compound in Ouagadougou, the capital, when members of the presidential guard began firing into the air, demanding unpaid housing allowances. By yesterday, soldiers in several cities had joined in. Calm returned to the capital after soldiers there got paid.

There was no indication the student unrest and the soldiers’ actions were being coordinated.

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