The president, prime minister and several government officials of Burkina Faso are being held hostage by rogue members of the presidential guard. The hostage situation has been condemned by the UN Security Council, which is demanding their immediate release.
According to the Voice of America, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was outraged by what he calls a "flagrant violation" of the country's constitution. Interim President Michel Kafando, Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida and other government minister were reportedly arrested by presidential guard members who support ousted President Blaise Compaore.
The soldiers placed barricades around the presidential palace, witnesses said. Voice of America reported that gunfire was shot hours later when soldiers supporting the kidnappers attempted to disperse protesters outside of the palace.
Ousted President Compaore was removed from power during a popular uprising in October 2014. A general election in Burkina Faso is scheduled for 11 October. According to Voice of America, the lead-up to the election has been marked by tensions between Kafando's interim government and the presidential guard, known as the RSP.
"Members of the RSP burst into the room of the cabinet of ministers at around 14.30pm and took hostage the president of Burkina Faso Michel Kafando, the Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida, the minister of public administration ... and the minister of housing," Moumina Cheriff Sy, the head of the transitional parliament, said in a statement.
Reuters Africa reported Compaore rose to power during a 1987 military coup before being ousted when he attempted to change the constitution to prolong his 27 years in power. The hostage situation came two days after a government commission recommended dismantling the 1,200-strong RSP, Reuters reported.