The Burkina Faso military have confirmed that the interim government has been dissolved following a coup. The interim president Michel Kafando and prime minister Isaac Zida are being held hostage at the presidential palace in the capital Ouagadougou by the presidential guard, weeks before the country is to hold presidential election.
The hostages, including two ministers, were detained at a cabinet meeting by guards loyal to former leader Blaise Compaore, two days after a commission suggested the disbanding of the presidential guard - the Régiment de Sécurité Présidentielle (RSP) - amid allegations they had fired on unarmed protesters during 2014 riots.
The army made the announcement early on Thursday (17 September). "We have put in place a national democracy council tasked with organising democratic and inclusive elections," an unidentified official military said on RTB Television, Reuters reported.
The country's Radio Omega also reported that the government was dissolved and that a group of soldiers took the reins of power. The radio reported with a tweet this morning that it was under attack.
Police fired shots to disperse hundreds of people who descended to the streets to call for the release of Kafando and Zida. No injuries have been reported so far.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed outrage at the situation and call for the release of the hostages: "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 Ban's spokesperson.
The US also called for the immediate release of the hostages and strongly condemned any attempt "to seize power through extra-constitutional means or resolve internal political disagreements using force," Reuters reported.
In 2014, Compaore expressed the will to change the country's constitution in order to take part in the next year's election after 27 years in power. The National Assembly was scheduled to hold a discussion on an eventual amendment to the constitution. However, those who opposed the move stormed the parliament building and looted offices.
As the country descended into chaos, Compaore declared a state of emergency and said he was willing to engage with the opposition to resolve the crisis. However, the army installed an interim government and dissolved the National Assembly.
UPDATE: 10:02 GMT
Ludivine Laniepce, a journalist based in Burkina Faso, told IBTimes UK that shooting restarted in the capital. She said: "Some soldiers are just shooting in the city centre. The military said it was a coup. People are just running away. They are looking for a place to protest but there are shootings everywhere."