UN chief urges Burkina Faso coup leaders to lay down arms

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses a high-level event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism via a video link, at the UN headquarters in New York, on Aug. 20, 2021. Guterres on Friday pledged the world body's support for victims of terrorism. (Loey Felipe/UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday strongly condemned any attempt to take over government by the force of arms in Burkina Faso.

His call followed Sunday’s coup in the landlocked West African nation by sections of her armed forces.

Guterres, in a statement issued by his Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, called on the coup leaders to lay down their weapons.

This video grab taken from a video obtained by AFPTV from Radio Télévision du Burkina (RTB) on January 24, 2022 shows Captain Sidsoré Kader Ouedraogo (C), spokesman for the junta, with uniformed soldiers announcing on television that they have taken power and ‘put an end to the power’ of Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, in Ouagadougou. Radio Télévision du Burkina (RTB) / AFP

The secretary-general said he was following developments in the country with deep concern.

He also called on the coup leaders to ensure the protection of the physical integrity of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré and the institutions of Burkina Faso.

Guterres said he was particularly worried about the whereabouts and safety of the president who had not been seen since the crisis began early Sunday.

The UN chief expressed concern over the worsening security situation in the country’s capital, Ouagadougou.

News agency reports said the military announced on Monday it had seized power and overthrown the president.

The announcement was made on state television by an army officer who cited the deteriorating security situation in the country for the military takeover.

According to news reports, civilians and military elements have voiced growing criticism for months over the ģovernment’s inability to tackle growing Islamist insurgency that has destabilised much of the country.

Guterres reiterated the UN’s full commitment to the preservation of constitutional order in Burkina Faso.

The secretary-general reaffirmed the organisation’s support to the people in their efforts to find solutions to the multifaceted challenges facing the country.

In May 2021 a military coup was staged in Mali and a wave of other coup attempts and takeovers have occurred across West Africa and the Sahel, including in Chad, Sudan and Guinea.

Earlier in the month, the UN Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel told the Security Council the resurgence “is often the consequence of political practices that are completely out of step with the aspirations of the populations. (NAN)

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