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Burkina Faso Troops Resume Protests, Fire Shots in Air

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May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Soldiers in Burkina Faso’s National Guard protested yesterday in the capital, Ougadougou, shooting in the air and blocking traffic.

“They begin shooting at about 8 p.m. and stopped at 9 p.m.,” said Nelson Congo, a witness, by phone yesterday.

Burkina Faso, Africa’s biggest cotton producer, has been in turmoil since February, when five people were killed during demonstrations against the police following the death of a student in their custody. Soldiers in the West African nation mutinied last month, forcing President Blaise Compaore, who has ruled the country since seizing power in a coup in 1987, to dissolve the government and fire the head of his presidential guard and the chiefs of the army, air force and police.

“The government is making an effort to negotiate with every sector of our society and we are very surprised by this new shooting,” Minister of Communications Alain Edouard Traore told reporters yesterday in Ouagadougou. It wasn’t clear what the soldiers are demanding, he said.

In other demonstrations, students protested in support of striking teachers today, burning the local office of the ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress party in Gaoua, 400 kilometers (248 miles) southwest of Ouagadougou, said resident Sie Kambou by phone. They also marched in Bobo Dioulasso, the second-biggest city, and in Ouagadougou, according to residents.

To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Gongo in Ouagadougou via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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