On September 17th of this year, Burkina Faso’s transitional government was overthrown by members of an elite military unit known as the Regiment of Presidential Security (RPS), after the the country’s national reconciliation commission recommended the unit’s disbandment. They were apparently upset that the members of the Congress for Democracy and Progress, the party former president Compaoré and many of their members belong to, were forbidden from voting in the upcoming elections. However, it appears their victory was short-lived.
A few days after Gen. Diendere declared himself head of the new government and postponed the elections, the citizens of Burkina Faso made it clear they weren’t going to stand for it. While the people of Ouagadougou protested in the streets, the national army redirected many of its soldiers to the capital to oust the mutineers, by force if necessary. The Economic Community of West African States soon issued a resolution calling for the general to step down and reinstate the interim President Michael Kafando until elections are held (the interim Prime Minister, Lt. Col. Yacouba Isaac Zida, had already been released that Monday.) The following Tuesday, Gen. Diendere agreed to hand over control to the civilian government and issued an apology to his nation.
Once reinstated, interim President Kafando officially disbanded the RPS and began to reschedule the country’s elections. His government also asked their citizens to, “remain calm and exert restraint” as reports came in that former RPS members and their families were being attacked by outraged citizens. The interim government also launched a 30 day investigation into the coup, stating that conspirators who played a significant role will be put on trial while the rest will be reintegrated into the national army.
As of Friday the 25th of September, the RPS is no more. Trucks and armored vehicles carrying grenades, automatic machine guns, and other weapons were sent out of the capital, most likely to disperse their cargo among the national army. Gen. Gilbert Diendere was apprehended on October 1st at the Vatican Embassy, where he sought refuge after the army marched on the city. He says he “would like the people of Burkina Faso to find a solution to this crisis through dialogue.” The government has stated that he and his accomplices will most assuredly receive a fair trial. We’ll see how things go from here.