Monday, May 2, 2011

Burkina Faso Riot Police Join Wave of Protests After Government Dissolved

Riot police became the latest group to protest in Burkina Faso, firing their guns into the air at their barracks in the east of the capital, Ouagadougou, two weeks after the president dissolved the government.

“The shooting began in 9.30 p.m. and continued till this morning,” said Oumarou Kabore, who lives near the barracks. “They came out of their camp and fired in the air.”

A mutiny by the presidential guard on April 14 pushed President Blaise Compaore to dismiss his government. On April 22, he appointed himself as defense minister. Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest cotton producer has been in turmoil since February, when five people were killed during demonstrations against police following the death of a student in their custody.

Compaore, 60, has ruled Burkina Faso since seizing power in a 1987 coup.

Gold miners including Montreal-based Semafo Inc. (SMF) and London-based Avocet Mining Plc (AVM) have operations in Burkina Faso. Semafo said on April 18 the unrest hasn’t disrupted operations at its Mana mine, while Avocet said the same on April 15.

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