Burkina Faso’s leader, Blaise Compaore, appointed a new prime minister as members of the presidential guard who began a mutiny on April 15 apologized for their actions and called for an end to the insurrection.
Luc Adolphe Tiao, the West African country’s ambassador to France, will replace Tertius Zongo as premier, Compaore said in a statement read on national television late yesterday. Tiao, a 56-year-old journalist, is a former director of Sidwaya, the state-owned newspaper, and was also previously president of the Supreme Council for Communication, the media regulator.
Compaore has dismissed the chiefs of staff of the army, air force and police and dissolved his government in the past week as he seeks to quell rioting by soldiers protesting over their living conditions. The mutiny has spread to at least four towns in the country.
Gunfire was heard through the night in Gorom Gorom, about 340 kilometers (211 miles) from the capital, said resident Agali Almaouna. The shooting ended around 4 a.m. local time, he said.
“We regret this mutiny, plunder and disorder,” Moussa Ag Abdoulaye, a spokesman for the protesting soldiers, said in a statement read on Radio Television du Burkina, the state-owned broadcaster, in the capital, Ouagadougou. “We reaffirm our respect and our support for the president of Burkina Faso and call others in the country to stop shooting.”
Compaore, 60, has ruled sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest cotton producer since seizing power in a 1987 coup. The country has been in turmoil since February, when five people were killed during demonstrations against police following the death of a student in their custody.
Gold miners including Montreal-based Semafo Inc. (SMF) and London-based Avocet Mining Plc (AVM) have operations in Burkina Faso. Semafo said yesterday the unrest hasn’t disrupted operations at its Mana Mine, while Avocet said the same on April 15.
Shopkeepers who protested the soldiers’ looting in a demonstration April 16 reopened their stores today, said Seydou Zangre, president of a network of informal merchants.
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