Burkina Faso arrests 93 soldiers after mutiny: officer

OUAGADOUGOU — The Burkina Faso military has arrested 93 soldiers for alleged involvement in a mutiny, an officer told AFP, after disgruntled troops wreaked havoc in the economic capital for days last week.

Six soldiers and a 14-year-old girl were killed in the southwestern city of Bobo Dioulasso on Friday when military units ended the rampage by looting soldiers demanding higher wages, in an echo of troop unrest in April.

“We have 93 mutineers,” said the operation’s commanding officer. This was up from the 57 arrests announced Friday.

Some had reported to the camp Monday but there were others on the run, he said. “We are looking for them with the help of the populace,” he said.

“The clean-up operation is continuing. Every day there are arrests and we find arms and items that were stolen. We will carry on until the job is done,” he said.

Bobo Dioulasso Mayor Salia Sanou said government ministers met Monday with businessmen affected by the violence, which erupted on Tuesday.

He said about 80 percent of the goods stolen had been recovered.

Around two dozen civilians and eight soldiers were also wounded in the operation to end the mutiny, officials have said.

A curfew has been eased to run from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am.

Protests broke out in Burkina Faso in February over high food prices, unemployment, rising costs and looting by troops.

Soldiers and paramilitary police joined the unrest in April, going on the rampage in several towns.

In a bid to quell the unrest, President Blaise Compaore fired army and police chiefs in April and formed a new government, naming himself defence minister, while promising subsidies on basic commodities and other urgent measures.

Compaore seized power in a 1987 coup and has been re-elected four times since 1991.

Most of the population is destitute while the political elite is largely wealthy, according to the opposition.
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