A newly established National Democratic Council (NDC) in Burkina Faso has announced it will free ousted interim president Michel Kafando and other ministers who were being held hostage as the military carried out a coup.
Kafando, prime minister Yacouba Isaac Zida and two other ministers were detained by presidential guards – known as the Régiment de Sécurité Présidentielle (RSP) – loyal to the previous leader, Blaise Compaore, who was driven out in 2014 as he was sought to amend the constitution to run in October 2015's presidential election. One day after the politicians were seized, the presidential guard declared a coup and appointed General Gilbert Diendere, a former ally of Compaore, as head of the NDC.
The council made a statement broadcast on national TV saying that it agreed to free Kafando and the other ministers after a meeting with representatives of the African Union (AU), UN, EU and US occurred on 17th September, according to the country's radio Omega.
However, the statement does not mention Zida, suggesting that the prime minister might be still held. The coup leaders also confirmed they are willing to establish a dialogue to resolve the crisis in the West African nation.
Between three and 10 people were killed during rallies in the capital Ouagadougou protesting against the coup. Members of the presidential guard fired shots to disperse the crowd and used batons to hit stone-throwing protesters, according to Reuters, which said the number of people killed was three. However, the BBC reported that at least 10 people died.
According to some analysts, the coup occurred in retaliation to the declaration of a commission, which suggested the disbanding of the RSP amid allegations members had fired on unarmed protesters during 2014 riots. Presidential guard also said it was unhappy with the ban on candidates who were close to Compaore in the October election.