Burkina Faso hit by new protests as officer fired

Hundreds of students protested in Burkina Faso today, demanding justice for victims of police violence during a wave of protests which have swept the country in the past two months.

Earlier today, Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore fired the police chief a week after police mutinied across the protest-hit country, according to a cabinet decree issued Thursday.

Police chief Rasmane Ouangraoua will be replaced by Paul Sondo, the former police commissioner in the capital Ouagadougou and chief executive of the National Police Academy, according to the cabinet ruling.

In the capital Ouagadougou, several hundred students gathered in front of the education ministry for a peaceful demonstration chanting “justice, justice, justice”, according to an AFP journalist. In Ouahigouya, students blocked the main entrances to the northern town as they declared a 48-hour strike to demand “truth and justice” for the victims, as well as the departure of the new government, formed on April 21, witnesses said.

The students are demanding accountability for the death of an 11-year-old schoolboy killed last week by a stray police bullet as officers mutinied in Ouagadougou.

They also want justice for Justin Zongo, a student whose death in murky circumstances started the wave of protests in the west African country on February 22 in the western town of Kedougou.

He was officially reported to have died of meningitis, but family and friends insist he was killed while in police custody. Protests have since spread across the country as citizens express anger against President Blaise Compaore’s, long-serving rule and the high cost of living. President has been in power for 24 years. (AFP)
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