Burkina coup leader warns of retaliation if attacked
Iran Press TV
Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:33PM
Burkina Faso's coup leader says he would accept the terms of a peace deal proposed by African mediators, but warned that his men would defend themselves if they were attacked.
'We do not want to fight but ultimately we will defend ourselves,' General Gilbert Diendere said on Tuesday.
His warning came after troops were deployed in the capital Ouagadougou to secure a surrender from the junta that has taken control.
Diendere also announced that a member of the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP), the elite army unit behind the coup, had been killed and a second had been injured.
Diendere agreed on Monday to hand over power under a deal reached with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional group.
'We will apply what the heads of state decide at the ECOWAS level,' Diendere said.
Led by Senegalese President Macky Sall and Benin's leader Thomas Boni Yayi, ECOWAS mediators have suggested a return of Burkina Faso's interim president Michel Kafando, along with an amnesty for the coup soldiers.
On Monday, the country's military called on the coup forces to hand in their arms to barracks in exchange for safety guarantees.
It said in a statement that the West African nation's armed forces had been deployed to Ouagadougou from the provinces 'to disarm the presidential guard without bloodshed."
The coup is being led by General Diendere, a close ally of former President Blaise Compaore, who himself was ousted last year amid angry anti-government protests against his attempts to change the constitution and seek another term in office.
The coup forces have announced the dissolution of the interim government and parliament, which had been tasked with leading the political transition in the African nation after Compaore's ouster in 2014.
General Diendere was named Burkina Faso's new leader despite condemnations from the West and the African Union (AU). Kafando's interim government had set October 11 for presidential and legislative elections, which would be the first in the African nation since Compaore was forced out of power last year.
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa around 274,200 square kilometers (105,900 square miles) in size with a population of over 17.3 million.
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