UPDATES WITH STATEMENT BY BURKINA FASO’S PRESIDENT; ADDS REACTION BY ECOWAS AND HEAD OF AFRICAN UNION; CHANGES HEADLINE, DECK, LEDE; EDITS THROUGHOUT
By Fatma Esma Arslan and Aurore Bonny
DAKAR, Senegal/DOUALA, Cameroon (AA) - Amid reports of his detention at a military camp by a group of soldiers, Burkina Faso’s president on Monday called on those who have taken up arms to surrender in the best interests of the nation.
"Our Nation is going through difficult times. At this precise moment, we must safeguard our democratic achievements," Roch Kabore said on Twitter.
"I invite those who have taken up arms to lay them down in the Higher Interests of the Nation. It is through dialogue and listening that we must resolve our contradictions."
According to security sources and multiple media reports, Kabore was detained after gunfire was heard in some barracks in the capital Ouagadougou on Sunday.
But the government had said there was no possibility of a coup and that the situation was under control. It said the soldiers rebelled not to start a coup, but to seek better working conditions.
The internet remains largely cut across the West African country, according to NetBlocks, an internet blockage observatory.
A group of people also took to the streets and attacked the offices of the ruling People's Movement for Progress party.
A nationwide curfew was declared from 8 p.m. to 5.30 a.m. local time Monday, and educational activities were suspended for two days.
With the situation remaining uncertain, the French Embassy advised its nationals in Burkina Faso against any unnecessary travel. It also announced the closure of French schools in the country.
The US Embassy was also closed due to "the uncertainty of persistent problems throughout Ouagadougou."
Meanwhile, the Economic Community of West African States, which has already suspended Mali and Guinea from the bloc over military takeovers, condemned what it called "an attempted coup" in Burkina Faso.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, the president of the African Union Commission, said he is following with “deep concern the very serious situation in Burkina Faso.”
He “strongly" condemned the coup attempt against the democratically elected president, and called on the army and the country's security forces to strictly adhere only to the defense of the country's internal and external security.
Terrorism and protests against the government had put Kabore’s government under pressure and forced a number of changes.
Kabore fired Prime Minister Joseph Marie Dabire on Dec. 9, 2021, and two days later replaced him with Lassina Zerbo.
He came to power after former president Blaise CompaorE was overthrown by a popular uprising in 2014.