- Residents of the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou remained sleepless by all night long gun firing by angry soldiers who were protesting against the killing of their colleague. As a result of the worrying security situation, the government of Burkina Faso has postponed a summit of ECOWAS heads of state scheduled to take place on Friday.
On Tuesday, a police officer was reported to have shot dead a soldier at Ouagadougou city hall after they were involved in a stormy confrontation. The police officer in question is said to be under heavy military custody as his case is being investigated.
This prompted armed soldiers to invade the area, resulting to mounting tension between them and police guarding the city hall's entrance.
The whole night long, firing has destroyed part of the police headquarters and some vehicles have been burnt at the riot police station. It has also damaged the main gate of the prison and - according to unconfirmed reports - some prisoners took to their heels.
According to informed sources, ten people - civilians and soldiers - were sent to hospital for sustaining gunshot wounds.
Today, calm has returned to the city, with people going out and about their normal business. Armed soldiers could be seen patrolling the streets of the capital.
It was reported that a government release was asking the two rival forces to maintain law and order, which had helped to bring back sanity. The release also assured that those found guilty of sparking off the trouble would face the full brunt of the law.
The Burkina Faso government this evening dispatched releases announcing the postponement of a summit of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) for security reasons. This means that a meeting of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) would also not take place.
Burkina Faso' Minister for Regional Cooperation, Jean de Dieu Somda said, "in view of the altercation between soldiers and police officers in the city of Ouagadougou, we thought it was not the moment to receive these distinguished guests."
Burkina Faso has remained a relatively stable country since current president Blaise Compaoré came to power in a coup in 1987. The country experienced a series of military coups and counter-coups from the late 1970s to the early 1980s.
Since President Compaoré agreed to a democratisation process in the 1990s, Burkina Faso has mostly been spared for political violence and turbulence, although the Compaoré regime has been accused of several political murders. Coups, army mutinies and armed confrontations nevertheless have been very seldom in Burkina Faso for the last 20 years.
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