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UN chief welcomes return of Burkina interim regime

AFP , Thursday 24 Sep 2015
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso's transitional president Michel Kafando attends the official handover ceremony returning him to office in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 (Photo: AP)
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed Thursday the reinstatement of Burkina Faso's interim leader Michel Kafando and transitional institutions after coup leaders stood down.

The resumption of a political process "will enable Burkina Faso to hold presidential and legislative elections in accordance with the country's constitution and transitional charter", Ban said in a statement.

The west African nation's elite presidential guard on September 16 detained Kafando, acting prime minister Yacouba Isaac Zida and two other government ministers, announcing a coup the following day.

The new military regime, led by General Gilbert Diendere, came under strong pressure to quit from the United Nations, former colonial power France, Washington, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which mediated a resolution to the crisis.

Ban commended ECOWAS on finding a settlement and "called on all national stakeholders to exercise restraint and to ensure respect for the physical integrity and human rights of all Burkinabe citizens".

Back in power on Wednesday, Kafando said his "main objective" was to prepare free and fair elections, while Diendere acknowledged the coup "was the biggest mistake" since "the people were not in favour of it".

Diendere, a former commander of the crack Presidential Security Regiment (RSP), was close to ex-president Blaise Compaore, who quit in 2014 amid street protests aimed at preventing him from extending his 27-year-rule.

The transition since has been marked by repeated calls for the disbanding of the RSP, while allies of Compaore were barred from standing in general elections originally scheduled for October 11. Both factors helped to trigger the coup.

Units of the regular army closed in early this week on Ouagadougou, where at least 10 people were killed and more than 100 wounded during the putsch, but no fighting with the 1,300-strong RSP ensued.

Citizens of the capital have protested against clauses of the ECOWAS deal that would lift the electoral ban on Compaore sympathisers and give an amnesty to those involved in the coup.

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