Burkina Faso's military said Thursday it had taken control of the West African country, stripping interim President Michel Kafando of his functions. The announcement of the coup, just weeks before national elections, triggered protests that led to heavy shooting at the main square in the capital Oaugadougou, BBC reported.
Coup leaders, who come from an elite presidential guard unit that had disagreed publicly with the transitional government in recent months, imposed curfew and closed borders as tensions increased, military sources said, according to Agence France-Presse. Lt. Col. Mamadou Bamba appeared on national television to declare that a new "National Democratic Council" had overthrown "the deviant regime of transition" in the West African state.
"The National Transition Council has been ... dissolved ... Wide-ranging talks are being held to form a government ... to lead to inclusive and peaceful elections," Bamba reportedly said.
Burkina Faso was scheduled to hold elections on Oct. 11 that many believed would help strengthen democracy.
The declaration of a coup reportedly came just a day after members of the elite presidential guard unit of the military arrested the transitional President Michel Kafando, Prime Minister Isaac Zida and two ministers. The transitional government reportedly came to power after president of 27 years, Blaise Compaore, was ousted late last year after an uprising.