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Burkina Faso denies coup attempt after gunfire at barracks

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (BLOOMBERG) РThe government of Burkina Faso denied that a coup attempt was under way after heavy gunfire was reported at military facilities on Sunday (Jan 23), following months of protests calling for President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to step down.

Shooting was reported at the military airport in the capital Ouagadougou early on Sunday, a day after security forces fired tear gas at demonstrators demanding the resignation of Mr Kabore.

Gunshots were also reported at the Baba Sy artillery regiment in Kaya, the nation’s fifth-largest city, and at the Sangoule Lamizana base and military prison. Reuters earlier reported the gunfire.

The government confirmed there had been gunfire around certain military installations, but denied social media reports of a coup, said administration spokesman Alkassoum Maiga in a statement.

Mr Kabore maintains his faith in the army, the statement said. Eight soldiers were arrested on suspicions of an attempted coup earlier this month.

Pressure on Mr Kabore to resign has been mounting over his administration’s failure to quell the deadly violence by Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

Militants killed hundreds of soldiers and civilians last year, forcing more than 1.5 million people to flee. The insurgents have also targeted gold-mining operations – the country’s main source of income.

Mr Kabore has been in power since 2015, a year after long-serving leader Blaise Compaore was ousted in a popular uprising.

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