Burkina Faso government denies army takeover following barracks gunfire
Updated 23:10, 23-Jan-2022

Burkina Faso's government on Sunday confirmed gunfire at some military camps but denied reports that the army had seized power.

Gunshots were heard in several barracks in the West African country on Sunday, including two in the capital Ouagadougou.

"Information on social media would have people believe there was an army takeover," government spokesman Alkassoum Maiga said in a statement.

"The government, while recognizing the validity of shootings in some barracks, denies this information and calls on the population to remain calm."

Residents in the Gounghin district in the west of Ouagadougou reported heavy gunfire at the Sangoule Lamizana camp and military prison where an army general is being held.

"Since 1 a.m., gunfire has been heard here in Gounghin coming from the Sangoule Lamizana camp," a soldier in the area confirmed to AFP. Local inhabitants said soldiers had come out of the barracks firing in the air and sealed off the area around it. 

Shots were heard at the Baby Sy barracks in the south of the capital as well as at an air base near the airport, which was also sealed off by soldiers in balaclavas, according to local residents.

There was also gunfire at barracks in the northern towns of Kaya and Ouahigouya, residents there told AFP. Meanwhile, mobile internet services were down on Sunday morning.

According to Reuters, protesters in the capital also burned and looted the headquarters of President Roch Marc Kabore's political party on Sunday.

Defense Minister General Bathelemy Simpore denied rumors that the president had been detained following the gunfire, adding the motive for the shooting by the soldiers was still unclear.

He told nationwide TV that "none of the Republic's institutions has been troubled at the present moment." He added that these were "localized, limited" incidents "in a few barracks."

The landlocked West African state ranks among the poorest in the world, and has had little stability since gaining independence from France in 1960.

(With input from AFP)

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