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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 countrys 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 Fasos charismatic revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara and may have had a connection to Liberias 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.

Voters in Burkina Faso voted 29 November 2015 for a new president and parliament in what was called the country's most open election in its history. Five million registered voters were eligible to select from among a slate of 14 presidential candidates, including two women. The two frontrunners are the longtime opposition leader Zephirin Diabre and former prime minister Roch Marc Christian Kabore. If no single presidential candidate garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, a second round of voting would be held.

On November 30, 2015 election officials said former prime minister Roch Marc Christian Kabore has won the country's presidential election, becoming the West African nation's first new president in decades. Authorities said Kabore, prime minister under former strongman Blaise Compaore before splitting with that regime, won the presidency in the first round with more than 53 percent of the vote. Provisional results showed his closest rival, Zephirin Diabre, with just under 30 percent.

Burkina Faso, a largely Muslim country, had for years been largely spared from the violence carried out by groups who were abducting foreigners for ransom in Mali and Niger. Then in April 2015, a Romanian national was kidnapped in an attack that was the first of its kind in Burkina Faso.

The siege of an upscale hotel that killed at least 23 people in addition to the four armed fighters in the capital, Ouagadougou, ended 16 January 2016. Interior Minister Simon Campaore said that the victims from 18 countries died in the attack at the Splendid Hotel, adding that more than 150 hostages were rescued in a security operation but a number of them were wounded. Three attackers were killed at the hotel, and a fourth was killed when security forces cleared out a second hotel nearby. Two of the three attackers at the Splendid Hotel were identified as female, President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said on national radio. Government troops, along with their French counterparts, battled the militants to retake the luxury hotel popular with foreigners and UN staff.

Dozens of French forces arrived overnight from neighboring Mali to aid in the rescue. One US military member was embedded with French forces at the scene, and the United States was working to help provide France with surveillance and reconnaissance help.

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