Burkina: shots heard in the district of the presidency in Ouagadougou (witnesses to AFP)

Burkina: gunfire heard in the presidential district of Ouagadougou (té less to AFP)

MISE À DAY

Shots were heard before dawn on Friday morning in Ouagadougou in the district housing the presidency and the headquarters of the military junta in power since last January, witnesses told AFP, and the national television signal was cut off. 

“I heard heavy bangs around 4:30 a.m. (local and GMT), and there the roads around my house are blocked by military vehicles,” said one of them, living near the presidency. 

The origin of these shots remained unknown on Friday morning. 

Several axes of the Burkinabè capital were blocked in the morning by soldiers, noted AFP journalists.

These soldiers are posted on the main intersections of the city, in particular in the district of Ouaga 2000 where the presidency and the military camp of the ruling junta are located, but also in front of the headquarters of the national television, noted one of them.

The national television signal was cut Friday morning, with a black screen replacing programs with a message reading “No video signal”. 

Burkina Faso is ruled by a military junta that came to power last January in a coup. This putsch, which had overthrown the elected president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, had started with mutinies in several barracks in the country. 

The strongman of this junta, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, had promised to make security his priority, in this country undermined for years by jihadist attacks.

Numerous attacks

But the situation has not improved and the deadly attacks, affecting dozens of civilians and soldiers, have continued.

Again this week, a convoy that was to supply food to the town of Djibo (north) was attacked by suspected jihadists. 

11 soldiers died, 28 people were injured and 50 civilians missing, according to the latest official report. 

Several cities in the north are even now subject to a blockade by jihadists who blow up bridges with dynamite and attack supply convoys circulating in the area.

Other attacks have particularly marked public opinion public, such as the Seytenga massacre (north) last June where 86 civilians were killed. 

And in early September, another supply convoy jumped on an improvised explosive device, causing the death of 35 civilians, including many children. 

Since 2015, recurrent attacks by armed movements affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, mainly in the north and east of the country, have caused thousands of deaths and caused the displacement of some two million people.

Since last year, Burkina has become the epicenter of violence in the Sahel, with more deadly attacks than in the Mali or Niger in 2021, according to the NGO Acled.

More than 40% of the territory is outside state control, according to official figures.