UN chief “outraged” over Burkina Faso president’s detention

United Nations, Sep 17 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was “outraged” by reports of the detention of the president of Burkina Faso.

A statement from the secretary-general’s spokesperson said that the UN chief was outraged by reports of the detention of President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida, as well as a number of ministers by presidential guard on Wednesday in Ouagadougou, the capital, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The Secretary General calls for their immediate release. This incident is a flagrant violation of Burkina Faso’s Constitution and Transitional Charter,” it said.

According to media reports, the presidential guard burst into a cabinet meeting and arrested the interim president and other leaders, fueling fear of a military coup. So far, the presidential guard has not given any explanation for its move.

The statement said that “The UN stands firmly behind the transitional authorities and President Kafando. The Secretary-General notes the strong support of the people of Burkina Faso for a peaceful transition and urges compliance with the transitional calendar, including the upcoming elections.”

The secretary-general’s Special Representative for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, is presently in Ouagadougou and working closely with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and other international partners to support and safeguard the transition in Burkina Faso, said the statement.

In less than a month, an election is due to take place to complete a transition back to democracy after a popular uprising toppled former President Blaise Compaore last year.

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