Ban calls for immediate release of detained leaders of Burkina Faso

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced his outrage at reports that President Michel Kafando of Burkina Faso, Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida and several Government ministers have been detained by soldiers from the presidential guard.

“The Secretary-General calls for their immediate release. This incident is a flagrant violation of Burkina Faso’s Constitution and Transitional Charter,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, in the wake of today’s developments in the capital, Ouagadougou.

“The United Nations 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.”

According to media report, the country’s leaders were detained by guards supporting former President Blaise Compaoré during a cabinet meeting at the presidential palace. This comes two days after a commission reportedly recommended the disbanding of the presidential guard, the Régiment de Sécurité Présidentielle.

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.

In early November 2014, thousands of Burkinabé protesters took to the streets in Ouagadougou, facing off with security forces outside the presidential palace amid deadly violence that included the ransacking of Government buildings and the state television headquarters.

Following the violence, Mr. Compaoré announced his resignation, ending his 27-year stay in office, and handed power over to the military. By the end of that month, the country officially marked the transfer of power to Mr. Kafando, as the Transitional President. A 26-member transitional government was subsequently appointed, and throughout, the Secretary-General called on all appointed leaders to work in a collaborative and harmonious manner.

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