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Burkina Faso - Persistent State Failure

On 31 October 2014, President Compaore, who had been in power since 1987, resigned and fled the country with members of his family, the National Assembly president, and others. Lieutenant Colonel Yacouba Isaac Zida, deputy commander of the Presidential Security Regiment (Regiment Securite Presidentielle - RSP), declared himself head of state on November 2, suspended the constitution, and dissolved the National Assembly. On November 17, members representing different sectors of society signed a charter to guide the transitional government through preparations for elections.

Michel Kafando was chosen as interim president in accordance with the charter. A 90-member National Transitional Council, holding legislative powers and including 25 members of the armed forces, was selected in accordance with the charter. A 26-member transitional government was appointed, including Zida as prime minister and minister of defense. Other armed forces officers were appointed to serve as minister of mines and minister of territorial administration, decentralization, and security administration. The transitional government dissolved municipal and regional councils, and special delegations were responsible for managing local governments until the next legislative and municipal elections.

The charter adopted to guide the transitional government required the organization of presidential and legislative elections within one year of adoption. Under the charter the interim president, interim prime minister, and members of the interim government were not allowed to run in the presidential and legislative elections.

Presidential Security Regiment [RSP] members launched a coup attempt 16 September 2015. The guard was unhappy that the transitional government had barred supporters of former President Blaise Compaore from running in upcoming elections. RSP leader General Gilbert Diendere took power but was forced to step down a few days later after pressure from protesters, the army and the West African bloc ECOWAS. Diendere said he regretted the coup attempt.

Burkina Faso's military said the elite presidential guard behind the coup attempt refused to be disarmed, one of the conditions the junta agreed to in a peace deal with the army. The army saif the planned disarmament of the guard, known as the RSP, haf reached a "dead end" because soldiers will not give up their weapons and because of "ambiguous behavior" of RSP chief and coup leader General Gilbert Diendere.

During the failed coup 16 September 2015, General Gilbert Diendere's forces detained the interim president, prime minister and several Cabinet members. The guard was unhappy the interim government barred supporters of former president Blaise Compaore from running in upcoming elections. General Diendere held power for nearly a week but was forced to step down under pressure from the army, demonstrators, and the West African bloc ECOWAS.

Presidential guards agreed 23 September 2015 to remain in their barracks while Burkina Faso armed forces retreated from the capital Ouagadougou, the broadcaster reported. African leaders are to oversee the implementation of the deal. The coup triggered clashes between guards and protesters that reportedly left 10 people dead and over 100 injured. The breakthrough came a day after the regular army entered Ouagadougou to suppress presidential guards loyal to the country’s ousted president Blaise Compaore, who was overthrown in a popular uprising in 2014.

The general behind the failed coup in Burkina Faso surrendered to the country's transitional government. General Gilbert Diendere turned himself in 01 October 2015 after negotiations with officials in the capital, Ouagadougou. Diendere received assurances that he would not be killed and that he and other soldiers who took part in the September 16 coup will receive a fair trial. General Diendere was believed to have had a hand in the death of Burkina Faso’s charismatic revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara and may have had a connection to Liberia’s civil war.

Before the coup, Burkina Faso was planning to hold elections on 11 October 2015, marking a return to democracy a year after Compaore's ouster. Transitional authorities in the CAR had warned of an election delay even before a new wave of violence began. ECOWAS leaders suggested a November 22 election date and recommended that Compaore's allies be allowed to field candidates.

Transitional authorities together with 12,000 UN peacekeepers and 1,000 French troops struggled to calm tensions over 2015.

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