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Michel Kafando


The assets of General Gilbert Diendere, the leader of Burkina Faso’s failed coup, have been frozen by state prosecutors.

Another 13 people suspected of involvement have also had their assets frozen, the state prosecutor says.

Interim President Michel Kafando was reinstated on September 23 after an intervention from the army and West African leaders following last week’s coup.

On September 25, Michel Kafando’s government ordered the presidential guards’ unit that carried out the coup to be disbanded.

At least 10 people were killed and more than 100 injured in clashes during the take-over which Gilbert Diendere described as “the biggest mistake”.

In a statement announcing the latest move, state prosecutor Laurent Poda said that the assets of 14 people, including Gen. Gilbert Diendere and his wife Fatou Diendere, a lawmaker for the former ruling party, would be frozen for three months.

During this period, they would only be able to withdraw 300,000 CFA ($512) a month.Gilbert Diendere assets frozen after Burkina Faso failed coup

On September 25, the first full meeting of the government since Michel Kafando’s reinstatement decided to disband the presidential guard (RSP) and to dismiss the minister in charge of security.

The RSP – a unit of 1,200 well-armed and well-trained men – is loyal to Blaise Compaore, the country’s long-time ruler who was ousted in a popular uprising last year. They were unhappy about being integrated into the regular army.

Members of the unit stormed the cabinet room on September 16, seizing the interim president, the prime minister and others.

A week later, when it became clear they did not enjoy popular support and after a threat from the regular army to step down or be ousted by force, the RSP withdrew.

An emergency meeting of the regional bloc ECOWAS earlier in the week also helped to bring a smooth end to the crisis.

Blaise Compaore is currently in exile and was accused of committing widespread abuses, and trying to change the constitution to extend his term in office.

Burkina Faso’s detained interim President Michel Kafando has been freed and is in good health, the coup leaders say.

However, PM Isaac Zida, who was also detained when the presidential guard stormed a cabinet meeting on September 16, remains under house arrest.

The African Union has suspended Burkina Faso and threatened sanctions unless the junta releases all interim political figures from detention.

The US and France have also condemned the coup in the former French colony.

Burkina Faso’s coup leaders have agreed to the “principle of dialogue”, as two West African leaders arrived in the country to mediate in the crisis.

At least three people have died in protests in the capital, Ouagadougou, after an ally of former President Blaise Compaore was named leader on September 17.

The influential Balai Citoyen civil society group has put the number of people who have died in demonstrations against the presidential guard (RSP), at 10.

An unknown number of protesters have also been detained.

Demonstrators gathered around the airport for the arrival of a delegation from the regional body, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).

The delegation was led by Senegal’s President Macky Sall, the current Ecowas chair, and Benin’s leader Thomas Boni Yayi.

Ahead of their arrival, the air and land borders were officially re-opened.Michel Kafando freed by Burkina Faso coup leaders

Security forces again fired in the air on September 18 to disperse to demonstrators who burned tires and blocked streets in Ouagadougou.

Elections were due to be held in Burkina Faso on October 11, nearly a year after a popular uprising forced Blaise Compaore, the long-time ruler of the West African country, from power.

Coup leader Gen. Gilbert Diendere, who was Blaise Compaore’s former chief-of-staff, told reporters that Michel Kafando was now in his official residence.

Michel Kafando was reportedly freed on September 17 but has not yet been seen in public.

Two other ministers have also been released, the coup leaders announce.

The decision to free them was made “as a sign of easing tensions and in the general interest”, a statement read on national television said.

PM Isaac Zida was the army officer who took charge after Blaise Compaore was ousted.

The lieutenant colonel was number two in the RSP, where he may still hold influence, which explains his continued detention.

Blaise Compaore is currently in exile and was accused of committing widespread abuses, and trying to change the constitution to extend his term in office.

Some of his key allies had been barred from contesting the election.

Gen. Gilbert Diendere has said he has had no contact with Blaise Compaore and will do everything to “avoid violence that could plunge the country into chaos”.

An earlier announcement on state television said wide-ranging talks would be held to form a new interim government that would organize “peaceful and inclusive elections”.

Transitional parliamentary speaker Cheriff Sy called for people to “immediately rise up” against the coup, and declared himself the leader.

The coup was announced on the day that a judge was due to give the results of DNA tests on the remains of former President Thomas Sankara, his widow Mariam Sankara said.

Thomas Sankara was killed in a 1987 coup that saw Blaise Compaore and fellow officers such as his close friend Gen. Gilbert Diendere take power.

The former president’s family wants to know the exact circumstances of his death, which have always been shrouded in mystery.