Gen. Gilbert Diendere, the leader of a military coup in Burkina Faso, has entered a final round of discussions with Senegal's President Macky Sall. The talks are intended to allow Burkina Faso's interim President Michel Kafando to return to power after Kafando was detained this week, Reuters reported Saturday.
Diendere, Sall and Benin's President Thomas Yayi Boni "shut themselves in Sall's suite for decisive discussions on a plan for ending the crisis that could very likely lead to the return of President Kafando," the Senegalese president's office said in a statement cited by Reuters.
The high-stakes talks are being carried out while hundreds of demonstrators storm the streets of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso's capital, and other cities, burning tires and erecting barricades to block soldiers loyal to Diendere, Reuters reported Saturday. At least 10 people have died and more than 100 others wounded in street clashes with the military since the coup started Sept. 16.
Soldiers of the elite presidential guard stormed a cabinet meeting Wednesday and abducted Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida. Diendere, a former spy chief and close ally of former president President Blaise Compaore, was named the coup leader the next day. Compaore resigned under pressure in October after attempting to extend his 27-year presidency, which sparked widespread public backlash. Kafando was tapped to lead Burkina Faso during the transition. National elections are scheduled to take place Oct. 11.
Military leaders said they released Kafando and Zida from detention Friday, although the men remain under house arrest. The African Union, United Nations and U.S., as well as the former colonial power France, all have indicated they condemn the coup.
Senegal's President Sall said he met overnight with Diendere in an attempt to mediate an end to the political upheaval. "We need to create a dynamic of reconciliation and forgiveness and stop the violence," Sall, who is head of the regional Economic Community of West African States, told reporters early Saturday after a closed-door meeting with Diendere, according to Reuters.