Burkina Faso coup leader reportedly in Vatican Embassy

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The man who led an unsuccessful coup in Burkina Faso is reportedly seeking refuge in the Vatican’s diplomatic compound. General Gilbert Diendere says he’s willing to surrender to authorities.

Diendere is believed to be in the country’s Vatican embassy, after leaving a camp where his supporters in the former presidential guard were holed up.

The Presidential Security Regiment had named Diendere as coup leader after it took the president, prime minister and others hostage in mid-September. The coup was thwarted after one week and the government restored last Wednesday.

Despite calls by Diendere for his followers to lay down their arms , some had refused . On Tuesday, the army used force to take over all the places occupied by the presidential guard.

When the army entered a regiment camp in the capital, Ouagadougou, Diendere was nowhere to be seen.

“The armoured vehicles entered the camp without much resistance. But he wasn’t there,” an unnamed officer told Reuters.

Diendere said he was in a “safe place” but declined to give further details. Sources in Ouagadougou say place is the country’s Vatican diplomatic compound.

Diendere told AP he was willing to give himself up.

“I am willing to turn myself over to face justice. I would like the people of Burkina Faso to find a solution to this crisis through dialogue. All parties must talk to find an inclusive solution for the future of the country.”

Diendere said he started the coup because of the new government’s plans to dissolve the presidential guard and to prevent allies of former President Blaise Compaore from voting in elections. Compaore was removed from power in October 2014.

Transitional President Michel Kafando has commended the military for taking over the presidential guard positions without there being any casualties.

 

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